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Utilizing the Enneagram in Workplace Situations: A Guide for Managers and Leaders

Utilizing the Enneagram in Workplace Situations: A Guide for Managers and Leaders

Learn how to utilize the Enneagram in workplace situations, including how to determine Enneagram types at work and advice for leaders who need to manage various personality types.  

As any manager knows, not all employees are alike. As soon as you’ve discovered how to motivate one employee, the next flips the script, and you’re left scratching your head. What did you do wrong? How can you motivate each of your employees to do their best and be successful?

Using the Enneagram at work is an excellent way to get a better sense of your team’s individual personalities. It goes a lot deeper than “ so-and-so really likes jazz music ” and “ that one is obsessed with all things Disney. ” Enneagrams shine a light on who your employees are deep down. And when you understand who they are and what they value, you’ll be able to motivate and support your team like never before—all while building a team that thrives on each other’s differences.

Enneagram at Work 101

The E nneagram is a personality assessment designed to help people better understand themselves and others. There are 9 personality styles that your employees may fall into, each with their own values, motivations, communication preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. For each of the 9 personality styles, there are two wing combinations, which create 18 more specific personality descriptions.

Once you understand the many different styles that make up your team, you’ll be better able to communicate with them effectively—in and out of the office.

📚 Learn more about Enneagram basics, including strengths, weaknesses, and career advice .

Identifying the Enneagram in the Workplace

So, how do you figure out which Enneagram type your employees belong to? It’s really a question of how involved you want the process to be. You could run an office-wide team building session to determine everyone’s unique type, or you could do it on a smaller scale with your own team.

There’s a chance your team members already know their Enneagram, so it doesn’t hurt to open up the discussion by asking if they already know their type. Just be ready to share your type with them as well. It’s important that your team not only learn their unique Enneagram type but that they share the results with the rest of the team—and you especially.

enneagrams at work

Utilizing the Enneagram in Workplace Situations

One of the most difficult parts of being a manager is motivating your team. What makes them tick? How do you appeal to their motivations to explain the importance of the work you’re asking them to do? How do you marry an employee’s values with those of the company and the work?

Learning everyone’s Enneagram type builds team communication, collaboration, and trust by enhancing a team’s understanding of one another. Not only will your team understand each other better, but your own improved awareness—of yourself and your team—will enable you to communicate and delegate more effectively.

How to Manage the 9 Different Enneagrams in the Workplace

type one

Managing Enneagram Type 1 (The Reformer)

Reformers are guided by their strong belief in right and wrong. They are principled, purposeful, rational, hardworking, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

These types thrive in work environments that prioritize ethics, fairness, and dedication. As a manager, you won’t have to convince them to take their job seriously; type 1s will do that themselves. Type 1s want to follow the rules, but if they perceive something is unfair, they’ll address it with you.  

  • DO listen to their feedback (and tell them you appreciate it.)
  • DON’T ignore their ideas.
  • DO take them and the job seriously.
  • DON’T cut corners or
  • DO appeal to their morals, ethics, and values.
  • DON’T be late or change plans last minute.
  • DO help them pursue their own personal and professional growth.
  • DON’T bend the truth or be misleading.

type two

Managing Enneagram Type 2 (The Helper)

Helpers are guided by their love of people and their desire to be loved by people. They’re natural people-pleasers who are generous, positive, demonstrative, and possessive.

Type 2s thrive in warm and welcoming environments where they feel needed, appreciated, and very much a part of the group. As a manager, don’t be afraid to ask them about their day and to tell them about yours. To inspire and motivate a type 2, let them know that the task you’re asking them to perform is a big help to you personally and the team as a whole. Be attentive and encouraging, and frame any feedback in a positive light.

  • DO tell them they’re a valuable part of the team.
  • DON’T forget to appreciate their hard work.
  • DO make them feel helpful.
  • DON’T be cold or impersonal.
  • DO carefully phrase feedback in a way that is kind and encouraging.
  • DON’T be insensitive to their feelings.
  • DO involve them in planning team building activities.
  • DON’T let them get too caught up in another team member’s work or personal issues.

type three

Managing Enneagram Type 3 (The Achiever)

Achievers are guided by ambition and success. They’re charismatic and confident, and they use these characteristics to easily motivate their team members and welcome new ones.  

Type 3s love new opportunities and responsibilities, so don’t shy away from assigning them a challenging work task—they are natural competitors. Motivate a type 3 by explaining how the next assignment will further their career and highlight their unique skills.

  • DO be clear and straightforward with requests.
  • DON’T forget to credit them for their work.
  • DO be concise with your messaging, including emails that get straight to the point.
  • DON’T use emotional tactics.
  • DO acknowledge their accomplishments.
  • DON’T give feedback without providing clear, constructive insights.
  • DO help them improve professionally.
  • DON’T let them get too competitive with their colleagues.

type four

Managing Enneagram Type 4 (The Individualist)

Individualists are guided by their need to be authentic and distinctive. They do not want to be part of the group. They can be self-absorbed, dramatic, and temperamental, but also highly empathetic, imaginative, and creative.

Type 4s are not the easiest of employees to manage, but they thrive in open-minded environments where they feel heard and seen. Be genuine, use your feelings, and don’t drop too many rules on them. Motivate and inspire type 4s by explaining the value of the work and

how an assignment is a chance to express their creativity, individuality, and keen insight.

  • DO take time to get to know them.
  • DON’T assign work without explaining its value.
  • DO take their feelings and emotions seriously.
  • DON’T engage in small talk or meaningless conversations.
  • DO offer tasks and opportunities that allow them to express themselves.
  • DON’T be phony, fake, or disingenuous.
  • DO frame feedback as a growth opportunity (and be sensitive.)
  • DON’T be overly critical about them or their work.

type five

Managing Enneagram Type 5 (The Investigator)

Investigators are guided by their love of learning and their desire to be independent. They are perceptive, cerebral, and innovative, but also secretive and often isolated.

Type 5s want to be appreciated for their vast knowledge. They do not enjoy group work, and they do not like to be bossed around, so they thrive best in work environments where they have lots of space to think, ideate, and be alone. Motivate a type 5 by assigning them a solo assignment that requires a great deal of research, where they need to collect facts and data and draw logical conclusions.

  • DO give them plenty of personal space and time to work independently.
  • DON’T be overly emotional or share personal information.
  • DO give them time to think and deeply consider things.
  • DON’T schedule meetings without a clear purpose.
  • DO offer constructive criticism and provide clear examples.
  • DON’T engage in unnecessary small talk.
  • DO recognize their skills and knowledge.
  • DON’T surprise them or put them on the spot.

type six

Managing Enneagram Type 6 (The Loyalist)

Loyalists are guided by their need for security and connection with others. They are responsible, engaging, and committed but also anxious and suspicious.  

Type 6s are proactive and practical and unlikely to be late for a meeting. As a manager, do what you can to make these types feel safe and supported in the workplace, as these are the environments they thrive best in. Show faith and loyalty to a type 6, and they will return it. Motivate a type 6 by demonstrating how an assignment will enable the future security, stability, and success of the team moving forward.

  • DO offer support and help them feel safe.
  • DON’T be inconsistent or unpredictable.
  • DO give them space to express themselves.
  • DON’T ignore scheduled meetings or deadlines.
  • DO take time to build trust.
  • DON’T worry or express doubt around them.
  • DO provide constructive criticism gently while also offering words of encouragement.
  • DON’T keep secrets or keep them out of the loop.

type seven

Managing Enneagram Type 7 (The Enthusiast)

Enthusiasts are guided by their love of new experiences, new connections, and FUN! They are spontaneous, adaptable, distractible, and enthusiastic.  

Type 7s thrive on energy and enjoy busy environments. As a manager, give these types new assignments as frequently as possible, as they easily grow bored of repetitive, monotonous tasks—they’re most stimulated by what’s new and exciting. They love chit-chat and socializing in general, so don’t be afraid to ask them about their weekend… just be prepared for an invitation to their next party. Motivate this type with enthusiasm, energy, and an upbeat attitude.  

  • DO provide a stimulating work environment.
  • DON’T place too many (perceived) rules or limitations on them.
  • DO take time to engage with them one-on-one.
  • DON’T be negative or put down their ideas.
  • DO provide multiple options and enable them to choose their own path.
  • DON’T keep them from working with others.
  • DO switch up tasks and assignments to keep things interesting.
  • DON’T stifle their imagination or creative thinking.

type eight

Managing Enneagram Type 8 (The Challenger)

Challengers are guided by their desire for control and independence—they do not like to follow the rules. They are courageous and decisive but also dominant, self-confident, and confrontational  

Type 8s are bold and action-oriented. They aren’t only unafraid of confrontation; they often enjoy it. Type 8s won’t always make a manager’s job easy, as they do not like to be told what to do and often believe they’re better qualified to lead anyway. As a manager, you may need to stand your ground with this type and not allow yourself to be domineered. That said, do not ignore this type; ask their opinion, and show respect. They will follow you if you give them a good reason to.

  • DO be upfront and direct when communicating.
  • DON’T be unnecessarily controlling.
  • DO give them opportunities to lead.
  • DON’T pressure them to express emotion or vulnerability.
  • DO allow them to share new ideas and suggestions.
  • DON’T be disrespectful or disregard what they have to say.
  • DO seek their guidance when problem solving or making difficult decisions.
  • DON’T be afraid to stand up to them (if you need to.)

type nine

Managing Enneagram Type 9 (The Peacemaker)

Peacemakers are driven by their desire for, well, peace—internal and external. They are easygoing, optimistic, reassuring, and agreeable, but, at times, self-deprecating and passive-aggressive.

Type 9s do not like conflict; they are calm, adaptable, and they have the ability to clearly understand both sides of an argument. As a manager, establish a safe and stable environment where they feel comfortable communicating. Seek their guidance in a one-on-one meeting if there is conflict in the office, as they will be more than happy to offer advice on how to resolve it. Give them space to complete deadlines, and avoid harsh or confrontational language when communicating with them.

  • DO provide consistency and stability.
  • DON’T be overly negative or critical.
  • DO make them feel safe and able to communicate honestly.
  • DON’T be confrontational or argumentative.
  • DON’T present them with difficult decisions.
  • DO ask them about their thoughts and opinions.
  • DON’T put a lot of pressure on them.

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enneagram at work presentation


Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

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Enneagram Explained

  • How To Find Your Enneagram Type
  • How to Confirm Your Enneagram Type
  • Enneagram Core Motivations
  • Enneagram Type 1: The Improver
  • Enneagram Type 2: The Helper
  • Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever
  • Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist
  • Enneagram Type 5: The Observer
  • Enneagram Type 6: The Loyalist
  • Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast
  • Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger
  • Enneagram Type 9: The Peace Seeker
  • Enneagram Centers of Intelligence
  • Enneagram Harmonic Groups
  • Enneagram Harmony Groups
  • Enneagram Hornevian Groups
  • The Best Enneagram Books for Personal Growth
  • The Best Enneagram Journals and Devotionals
  • Grief and Loss by Enneagram Type

The Enneagram And Parenting

  • What You Need to Know If You’re In A Relationship With Other Enneagram Types

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The Enneagram At Work

Posted by Enneagram Explained | Feb 25, 2023

The Enneagram At Work

I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure

One of the places that people can struggle with other people is in the workplace. Thankfully, using the enneagram at work can help co-workers all understand and support each other better.

Between your personality and the personalities of all of your co-workers, there is a lot going on and a lot of potential for trouble spots.

Whether you are the boss or an employee, the enneagram is a wonderful tool to help you understand yourself better so that you can work with your co-workers better and have a healthier work environment .

What Enneagram Type Am I?

Not sure what type you are yet? That’s ok! I recommend heading over to my post on how to find your enneagram type and starting there.

What Enneagram Type Are My Co-Workers?

Unfortunately, you can’t actually type other people. You could make guesses but that’s all they’d be because all you can see is their traits and actions….but what determines type is core motivation which you can’t see.

So unless you ask your co-workers what type they are,  you can’t actually know their type.

You could keep a few types in mind and work off of that but you can’t be certain based on a guess and of course do not tell someone what type you think they are . You don’t want to rob them of that self-discovery.

We’ll be covering A LOT of information in this enneagram at work post – you’ve been warned.

We’ll be covering: 

  • Strengths of each type
  • Challenges of each type
  • Stress Triggers 
  • Action items for each type
  • Action items if you work with each type

What Enneagram Type Is The Best Boss?

There is no “best” enneagram type for bosses. Each enneagram type has their own unique traits and areas for growth that they bring to the table. No matter what type of boss you are (or you have) that type is needed and should be appreciated. 

The Enneagram At Work

Enneagram Type 1 At Work

Type 1 work strengths.

An enneagram 1 is likely to be responsible, organized, self-disciplined, ethical, consistent, hard working, and detail oriented all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 1

Some areas that a type 1 may need to work on is their lack of patience with others, perfectionism, procrastination (due to wanting things to be perfect), criticism, and not delegating because they feel like they can do it better.

Stress Triggers For Type 1s At Work

These would trigger any type 1 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 1 include: disorganization, lack of follow through, dishonesty, unclear expectations, and a lack of common courtesy. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 1

If you are a type 1, here are some areas in which you can grow in: make lists to avoid procrastination, trust your teammates – they might not do it just like you would but trust that they will still get the job done. Don’t forget to praise when it’s due – 1s often only talk about what needs fixing but forget that appreciation can help balance things out. Be ok with “good enough”.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 1

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 1 : Own your own mistakes and fix them (key work here is “fix”. Type 1s want to see actions backing up apologies!) Finish your tasks and finish them on time. Be clear in what you need, or what you don’t understand. If you do need to deliver criticism do so gently as type 1s already give themselves a hard time.

Enneagram Type 2 at work

Enneagram 2 At Work

Type 2 work strengths.

An enneagram 2 is likely to be supportive, thoughtful, attentive, a community builder, hospitable, empathetic, and a team player all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 2

Some areas that a type 2 may need to work on is their boundaries (not overstepping others’ boundaries and keeping boundaries for themselves), feeling unappreciated – obviously this may need to be addressed if they truly are unappreciated but 2s would do well to check with themselves to see if they actually are unappreciated or if they just feel like it. They may need to work on receiving criticism and manipulating. And of course, they should not forget their own needs. 

Stress Triggers For Type 2s At Work

These would trigger any type 2 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 2 include: lack of reciprocation, self-centered co-workers, when others don’t want their help, overextending themselves, and having their shortcomings pointed out. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 2

If you are a type 2, here are some areas in which you can grow in: practice having healthy boundaries – you will still be wanted and loved, ask for help when you need it (not everyone is as intuitive as you so they might not pick up on the fact that you could use some help) Speak the truth, this is not to imply that you lie but that perhaps you sugar coat things or avoid giving criticism. Be mindful of over-empathizing; make sure that your co-worker’s feelings don’t morph into your feelings.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 2

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 2 : Show your appreciation (with words, a card, some sort of office recognition…). Support the team – 2s are team players and they want that to be true for the whole team. Sandwich criticism with compliments if you do need to bring up something to a 2. And be generous just like your type 2 co-worker.

Enneagram Type 3 at work

Enneagram 3 At Work

Type 3 work strengths.

An enneagram 3 is likely to be energetic, efficient, motivated, organized, productive, hard working, and inspiring all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 3

Some areas that a type 3 may need to work on is their tendency to workaholism, impatience, competitiveness, people pleasing, and cutting corners. 

Stress Triggers For Type 3s At Work

These would trigger any type 3 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 3 include: not being acknowledged, being passed over, having failures pointed out (especially in public), slow co-workers and meetings that drag on, and inefficiency. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 3

If you are a type 3, here are some areas in which you can grow in: listen to others – this is not to say that you do not but you probably tend to move forward with a plan faster than other types are wanting to. Create healthy limits on working so you don’t burnout, slow down so that you get the whole picture and focus on truth over presentation.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 3

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 3 : Work competently and efficiently. Don’t bother them if they are working (at least if you can help it. Once they are in the zone, they want to finish what they are working on). Don’t waste time and recognize them and their successes – successes are easier to recognize and that is what a 3 will likely be working for but don’t forget to let them know that you value them for who they are, not just what they do.

Enneagram 4 At Work

Enneagram 4 At Work

Type 4 work strengths.

An enneagram 4 is likely to be authentic, inspiring, relationship builders, creative, emotionally intuitive, expressive, and good listeners all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 4

Some areas that a type 4 may need to work on is their time management (do things when you are supposed to; not just if you feel like it), Balancing emotions with logic, holding on to emotional burdens, overcommitting, and avoiding mundane tasks.

Stress Triggers For Type 4s At Work

These would trigger any type 4 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 4 include: inauthenticity, being rejected, lack of connection or depth, mundane tasks, and misunderstandings.

Action Items If You Are A Type 4

If you are a type 4, here are some areas in which you can grow in: balance your emotions with logic – feelings are important but remember to ask if it’s the reality, work on moving forward after issues are solved (don’t loop through those issues and emotions). Notice what is present instead of what is missing and create structure in your life – routine helps get the boring stuff done so that you have more freedom for creativity.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 4

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 4 : Be authentic and not shallow (or surface level – if you aren’t “fine” say what you actually are). Allow them to feel all their feelings – don’t tell them they are being too sensitive. Take time to understand them and give them creative freedom if and when possible.

Enneagram 5 At Work

Enneagram 5 At Work

Type 5 work strengths.

An enneagram 5 is likely to be analytical, self-sufficient, a knowledge seeker, objective, observant, visionary, and have good boundaries all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 5

Some areas that a type 5 may need to work on is managing their energy, sharing/showing emotions, their tendency to over preparing which delays taking action, not valuing other forms of intelligence (emotional or instinct), and connecting with the team.

Stress Triggers For Type 5s At Work

These would trigger any type 5 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 5 include: emotionally charged conversations, too much noise, interruptions, not being respected, and lack of definition or direction. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 5

If you are a type 5, here are some areas in which you can grow in: after detaching, make sure to bring emotions back in (others like to know how you are feeling about things), communicate your needs or even your tendencies this will let your co-workers know what’s up. Value instinct and emotions – thinking is not the only thing that is important or needed and you can lean on your teammates to help balance that out. Take action instead of continuously preparing – you probably know enough.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 5

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 5 : Remember that they have limited energy so try not to spring things on them that they haven’t budgeted energy for. Work towards self-sufficiency and being an expert in your own area. Explain things to them logically and limit interruptions.

Enneagram Type 6 at work

Enneagram 6 At Work

Type 6 work strengths.

An enneagram 6 is likely to be prepared, analytical, troubleshooters, intuitive of risks and threats, loyal, supportive of teammates, and reliable all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 6

Some areas that a type 6 may need to work on is their anxiety levels, doubting their own abilities, procrastination, analysis paralysis, and overly focusing on what could happen – this is a good thing for risk analysis but you shouldn’t forget that it could go well also.

Stress Triggers For Type 6s At Work

These would trigger any type 6 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 6 include: misuse of authority, lack of safety, becoming too busy, sudden changes, and having to make quick decisions. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 6

If you are a type 6, here are some areas in which you can grow in: trust your own decisions, balance your fears with what is reality, trust your co-workers – even if they aren’t in your circle of trust yet, clarify your intensions when you are poking holes in your teammate’s ideas.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 6

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 6 : Give them time to problem-solve. Respect their fears – don’t belittle them for it. Be trustworthy and reliable. Remember that their questions (and playing devil’s advocate) are about the project and not your decision.

Enneagram 7 At Work

Enneagram 7 At Work

Type 7 work strengths.

An enneagram 7 is likely to be open-minded, innovative, enthusiastic, imaginative, optimistic, a quick thinker, and creator of a positive environment all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 7

Some areas that a type 7 may need to work on is their tendency to reframe problems, avoiding uncomfortable situations, and focusing on the future instead of staying in the present. 7s can also work on paying attention to details and focusing on and finishing longer projects.

Stress Triggers For Type 7s At Work

These would trigger any type 7 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 7 include: not being taken seriously, boring routines, negativity, upset co-workers, and limitations. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 7

If you are a type 7, here are some areas in which you can grow in: notice when you are reframing, finish your projects all the way to the end, become more self-disciplined, and adjust your speed when needed (not all your co-workers can keep up with you).

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 7

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 7 : Be flexible. Give them freedom when you can. Limit negativity and criticism. And show enthusiasm even if you suspect that they will change their minds in 2 hours.

Enneagram 8 At Work

Enneagram 8 At Work

Type 8 work strengths.

An enneagram 8 is likely to be decisive, self-confident, a strong leader, direct, courageous, protective of their team, and a fighter for what’s right all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 8

Some areas that a type 8 may need to work on is not over-controlling situations, softening their words or tone (not everyone appreciates cold hard truth like you do), dealing with smaller details, taking time to think before instantly jumping into action, and having more patience for co-workers.

Stress Triggers For Type 8s At Work

These would trigger any type 8 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 8 include: dishonesty, having to be vulnerable, slowness, lack of autonomy, and unintentionally hurting their co-workers. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 8

If you are a type 8, here are some areas in which you can grow in: listen to others before moving forward, decrease your volume, adjust your speed when needed, notice when you are fighting more than is needed for justice or control.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 8

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 8 : Be competent, keep them informed of what is going on, be direct; don’t sugarcoat things, and don’t back down if you disagree.

Enneagram 9 At Work

Enneagram 9 At Work

Type 9 work strengths.

An enneagram 9 is likely to be collaborative, supportive of the team, receptive, non-judgmental, inclusive, diplomatic, and level-headed all of which can be great assets to the workplace. 

Workplace Challenges For A Type 9

Some areas that a type 9 may need to work on is clearly speaking their opinions (if you don’t people will stop even asking for your input – plus people want to know what you think), prioritizing, making decisions, taking care of their own needs or desires and confrontation when it is needed.

Stress Triggers For Type 9s At Work

These would trigger any type 9 but they may particularly cause issues in the workplace since work is often a stress inducing place ! Stress triggers for type 9 include: conflict, unclear expectations, pressure to make a decision, being overlooked or not consulted, falling behind on tasks. 

Action Items If You Are A Type 9

If you are a type 9, here are some areas in which you can grow in: share your input and opinions, say “no” when you want to say no. Learn how to prioritize – it’s not always best to do what is in front of you first. Watch out for believing that everything “will be fine” – action is needed for things to get fixed.

Action Items If You WORK With A Type 9

We all want and value different things and the enneagram can help bridge the gaps. Here are some things you can do, if you find you work with a type 9 : Appreciate their efforts, value the opinions of others (just like they value everyone’s opinions). Try not to pressure them and ask for their input instead of waiting for it.

More great posts to help you understand others: How to Get Along With Each Type   Communication Styles of Each Type Enneagram Conflict Styles

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Enneagram at Work: How to Maximize Your Career Potential

31 January 2024

enneagram at work presentation

We are rarely as uninhibited at work as we are at home around the people who love and know us. Therefore, just working with someone doesn’t guarantee that we know them well. However, using the insights of Enneagram at work allows us to decipher someone's Enneatype easily and learn more about them without being unprofessional.

Moreover, by understanding how each Enneagram type approaches work, we can learn how to motivate other people to give their best while also improving our own performance .

Ready to learn which Enneagram type is the most professional, which one is the most driven, and which one lacks ambition? Read on!

Enneagram at Work

Analyzing Enneagram at work enables us to understand the strengths and limitations of each type, communicate better, and handle common business challenges with more finesse.

So, let’s see how every Enneagram personality type uses their unique talents and abilities in the workplace.

Enneagram Type 1 at Work—The Ethical Leader

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 1 at work shows incredible professionalism and ethics . Ones , also known as the Perfectionists, like to do everything by the book and never avoid responsibility. Plus, they have an eye for detail and are great at organizing things.

Their typical strengths at work are a strong sense of structure, a systematic approach, and an assertive communication style. However, they can be too rigid, insisting on doing things their way .

As a result, they can also be overly critical of other people , imposing their high standards on them and expecting the same level of commitment and diligence from everyone.

Embracing flexibility is the most important lesson for Enneagram 1 at work . They need to learn to accept mistakes and imperfections as an inevitable part of success instead of fixating on unrealistic standards.

Enneagram Type 2 at Work—The Compassionate Team Player

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 2 at work is diligent, committed, compassionate, and always ready to help everyone around them . They quietly take on a lot of burdens without grumbling and are incredibly resilient when things get tough.

Due to their dedication and professionalism, Twos are well-liked and respected by their superiors, and their colleagues value them for their teamwork. People-centric and supportive, they easily create an atmosphere of collaboration within a team .

However, they struggle with personal boundaries and are therefore prone to burnout since they take on too many responsibilities.

Twos need to learn to say ‘no’ and prioritize their own interests without feeling guilty . Recognizing that only by taking care of themselves can they be able to help others may help them adopt a more assertive attitude.

Enneagram Type 3 at Work—The Ambitious Goal Getter

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 3 at work shows incredible drive, as they are determined to succeed. Threes are results-driven, efficient, practical, and able to think on their feet or resolve problems as they arise.

Extroverted and energetic, they easily make connections and climb the corporate ladder. However, they may be impatient with people who are not as driven and fast-paced as they are.

Moreover, while they are top performers at whatever they choose to do, they may be too competitive at times . Plus, their obsession with success and social image easily leads them to workaholism and burnout while also damaging their personal relationships.

Threes need to understand that work/life balance is essential to success . Workaholism provides short-term results but leads to failure in the long run, causing exhaustion, which results in bad professional decisions. Only by paying more attention to their personal lives can they reach their full potential at work.

Curious about more Enneagram Type 3 traits and in need of a laugh? Check out our Enneagram 3 memes page for a good time.

Enneagram Type 4 at Work—The Original Thinker

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 4 at work focuses on finding ways to express their individuality and unique talents. Introverted and imaginative, Fours will always offer a different perspective on any issue , inspiring their coworkers to approach work with more creativity.

In addition, they have a good grasp of the psychological factors at play at work , which allows them to empathize with people from various backgrounds.

However, despite their talents and empathy, they may often feel less worthy than others. As a result, they can also be a bit perfectionistic, striving to accomplish something extraordinary to compensate for their low self-esteem.

Focusing on the good things they accomplish at work and learning not to take things personally are both crucial for Fours. They would also do well to avoid isolating themselves and instead spend more time interacting with their coworkers.

Enneagram Type 5 at Work—The Expert Analyst

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 5 at work is a treasure trove of knowledge, experience, and competence . Analytical and knowledge-seeking, they are exceptional problem solvers and strategists who thrive in autonomous roles.

Moreover, they communicate in a clear, concise manner, focusing on efficiency , and are extremely reliable. Thanks to their logical thinking and deep insights, Fives always offer fresh perspectives on business matters.

When it comes to building connections, they are very reserved and formal. Additionally, they may be prone to withholding information , which may affect their work and their relationships at work. That’s because they are highly introverted and distrustful of other people.

Fives need to understand the value and benefits of teamwork . Their reluctance to rely on anyone and share knowledge can significantly affect their career progress. Mastering the art of collaboration is essential for the Fives to reach their full potential.

Enneagram Type 6 at Work—The Careful Trouble-Shotter

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram 6 at work is the most loyal, conscious, and diligent worker any employer can wish for. Security-oriented and highly aware of every possible risk related to their field of work, they are unmatched in planning, strategizing, and anticipating possible problems .

Thorough and detail-oriented, Sixes are very considerate in their communication and excellent team players who make everyone feel appreciated . Building positive relationships and a harmonious work environment is important to them, as it makes them feel safe.

Sixes excel in risk assessment and are highly responsible, but they can also be too cautious, pessimistic, reluctant to change, and resistant to any kind of innovation. Prone to overthinking, they are highly susceptible to stress and burnout .

The root cause of their strong focus on safety is their lack of self-confidence. As a general rule, Sixes are far more competent than they give themselves credit for , and they need to learn to believe in themselves and their abilities. The more self-confident they are, the easier they will find it to accept changes.

Enneagram Type 7 at Work—The Creative Thinker

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 7 at work displays contagious enthusiasm about the tasks they like and that inspire their creativity. They are energetic and passionate, and they enjoy variety in their everyday tasks. Their innovative spirit and willingness to try new things make them the go-to people for fresh ideas .

Spontaneous, playful, and curious, Sevens easily make connections at work . They enjoy brainstorming sessions and thrive in dynamic environments. However, they freeze in uncomfortable situations and may struggle to complete tasks , especially when they don’t find them inspiring and fun.

Sevens need to develop emotional maturity to be able to consistently maintain their focus and finish the tasks they start. Until they learn to foster persistence, they are prone to jumping from one job to another, which, while offering variety, may hinder their career progress.

Enneagram Type 8 at Work—The Big Boss

enneagram at work presentation

Enneagram Type 8 at work is assertive, action-oriented, and efficient. Eight aspires to a position of authority and is not frightened of the responsibilities that come with it. That’s because they have an overwhelming desire to dominate their surroundings. They are skilled communicators and excellent leaders who know how to get what they need from other people.

Eights have a strong presence and are capable of making tough decisions. Brave, strong, and composed in the face of adversity, they are capable of great things.

However, they may come across as too dominant , and they have a tendency to be too confrontational. Eights are not the type to bottle up their frustration; rather, they let it all out.

Their bravery and will are admirable, but they risk alienating those who could be on their side if they do not develop an appreciation for different points of view and practice diplomacy.

Enneagram Type 9 at Work—The Communication Expert

enneagram at work presentation

At work, Enneagram Type 9 usually takes on the role of mediator and maintains a harmonious environment where everyone can be productive.

Nines value stability and are excellent at managing conflicts , always finding a way to foster collaboration. They easily adapt to changes and are great team players to whom everyone turns for help and advice.

However, while they communicate smoothly with everyone at work, they rarely express their own views, especially when they believe they could cause any kind of disagreement.

Moreover, they tend to procrastinate because they have trouble saying ‘no’ to things they do not want to do or are not good at. For this reason, their coworkers often see them as unambitious.

Nines need to learn to voice their opinions and recognize the value of expressing their personal views . Practicing assertive communication may be the solution to all their struggles, as learning to set boundaries will leave more room for saying ‘yes’ to things they like. As a result, they will not have the need to procrastinate or avoid conflicts.

Key Takeaways

And that’s a wrap!

With any luck, you have learned something new about dealing with coworkers of varying personalities and styles and maybe even about how to step up your game.

Now, let’s round off by reminding you of some of the key traits of each Enneagram at work:

  • Eights and Threes like to take on leadership roles.
  • Ones and Sixes make sure that everything is done by the book.
  • Fours, Fives, and Sevens are a great source of creative ideas.
  • Twos and Nines are true team players and smooth communicators who make sure everyone feels valued.

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What Is Your Management Style Based on Your Enneagram Type?

Table of contents.

First up: If don’t know your type , take the free Enneagram personality test before reading the rest of this blog.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever given out (and taken!) a personality test for a new job or as a team-building exercise at work. Chances are, many of you have – and with good reason. Personality tests are a powerful tool for discovering your management style . And they’re even more important for those in leadership positions, who are responsible for driving the development and success of others.

Personality tests can be used at work to…

  • Increase self-awareness
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Understand management styles
  • Match employees to managers

There are many personality tests to choose from. Perhaps the most well-known test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator , has faced backlash in recent years for scoring low in reliability and predicting outcomes. You may have also heard of or taken the DiSC model or Holtzman inkblot technique (HIT). And along with about a dozen more, each test focuses on different variations of personality indicators and comes at various price points.

What is the Enneagram test (and how can you use it at work)?

One personality test that WorkTango loves is the Enneagram, especially in a work setting. That’s because this particular personality test taps into how we think, feel, and act – all three of which play a huge role in developing the traits of a good manager   and laying the groundwork for success as leaders in the workplace.

At the heart of this test is the distinctive Enneagram symbol. According to Enneagram Worldwide, “Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others, and the world.”

“Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview.”

So there are several different versions of Enneagram tests. They range from short, free versions and to the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, or RHETI. (The RHETI is the most popular version of the test, consisting of 144 questions for about $12 a person.) But no matter which version you choose, at the end of the questionnaire you’ll be categorized as one of nine Enneagram types.

A video explaining the benefits of using the Enneagram at work.

The 9 Enneagram types and their management styles at work

Let’s be clear: Personality tests shouldn’t be used on their own to categorize employees or make major decisions. But they can help support a broader effort to better understand your managers’ actions and leadership style.

So, how does your Enneagram type at work affect your performance and success as a manager? Find your type in the list below to learn more:


The rational, idealistic type: principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic

A Reformer’s worst fear is not doing the right thing. That’s because a growth mindset is woven into their DNA. As a result, they’re often high achievers who want to improve everyone and everything around them. So as managers, Reformers are good at driving continued development and encouraging employees to set stretch goals.

Famous examples: Michelle Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, and Eleanor Roosevelt


The caring, interpersonal type: demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive

Helpers are givers, not takers. At work, this Enneagram type often ascribes to a servant style of leadership. As people pleasers, managers who are Helper types might lack the tough love necessary for certain employees to succeed. This means they may even shy away from delivering the uncomfortable criticism needed to get under-performers back on track.

Famous examples: Mother Teresa , Princess Diana, and Jimmy Carter


The success-oriented, pragmatic type: adaptive, excelling, driven, and image-conscious

Here come the workaholics! Achievers are quintessential ladder climbers who place a high value on both being successful and being seen as successful. So achiever types in management roles might have ended up there by being exceptional individual contributors. And while they certainly understand what it takes to be successful, they may need coaching themselves on how to drive that same level of performance out of others.

Famous examples: Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Lance Armstrong

Need to have a 1 on 1 Sync-Up? No problem. Read: The Ultimate Guide to Effective 1-on-1s for Managers

enneagram at work presentation


The sensitive, withdrawn type: expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental

Individualists are creative thinkers. Often you’ll find them to be creatives, like visual artists, musicians, and poets. As managers, Individualists might tap into an employee’s emotional needs and well being more easily than other types. So they’ll be quick to get to the root cause of problems. But on the flip side, they might have trouble leaving their feelings at the door, and blur the line between work and personal issues.

Famous examples: Alanis Morrisette, Frida Kahlo, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin


The intense, cerebral type: perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated

Unsurprisingly, many entrepreneurs identify as Investigators. They are visionaries, concerned with solving big problems. As managers, Investigators risk getting their heads stuck in the clouds instead of focusing on their team’s tactics and deliverables. And their eccentric management style and problem-solving approach could turn off certain pragmatic employees.

Famous examples: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Diane Sawyer


The committed, security-oriented type: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious

Loyalists focus on creating and offering security to others around them. As such, they don’t shy away from commitment or run when the going gets tough. That means loyalists are great managers who can be very supportive of their teams, but also can get stressed from time to time. Also, they’re likely big on recognition (they would thrive at WorkTango!) and creating positive, encouraging work environments for young employees.

Famous examples: George H.W. Bush, Tom Hanks, and Ellen DeGeneres


The busy, fun-loving type: spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered

Enthusiasts are the life of the party but rarely stay in one conversation for too long. They are experience seekers who change interests and hobbies often. So, as managers, they may have trouble keeping employees on track. But they might also help them uncover hidden talents or skills that can help them in their careers.

Famous examples: Jim Carey, Iggy Pop, and Amadeus Mozart


The powerful, dominating type: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational

The Challenger types often have some issues as they like to be in control. They are confident but can quickly turn egotistical and domineering. So, as managers they could tend to rule with an iron fist and not be the greatest delegators. That’s because they prefer to do the job themselves to ensure it’s right.

Famous examples: Winston Churchill, John Wayne, and Donald Trump


The easygoing, self-effacing type: receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent

Peacemakers have the perfect moniker, shying away from conflict and confrontation all for the sake of keeping things in harmony. So they might not be comfortable as managers, especially when it comes to giving feedback or delivering bad news. But on the positive side, they are great at keeping the peace and creating stability for employees.

Famous examples: Abraham Lincoln, Mister Rogers, and Princess Grace

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Using the Enneagram in the Workplace

enneagram in the workplace

What Is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a method of psychological typing based on nine interconnected personality types. In contrast with other popular personality assessments, the Enneagram focuses on motivations instead of behaviors. This allows for people with similar external traits to receive different results based on their internal motivations.

Enneagram Types Explained

The nine types of the Enneagram are typically referred to by their numbers. Each type also has a name that summarizes its main motivation:

  • Type One (The Reformer): Ones are highly principled idealists who seek what is right. At times, they can be overly controlling and perfectionistic. Their core fear is being wrong or bad.
  • Type Two (The Helper): Twos are generous, caring friends who desire to love and be loved by others. At times, they can be manipulative and possessive. Their core fear is being unwanted and unloved. 
  • Type Three (The Achiever): Threes are ambitious, charming influencers who seek achievement and recognition. At times, they can be overly image-conscious and competitive. Their core fear is being seen as worthless.
  • Type Four (The Individualist): Fours are sensitive, expressive artists who desire to live into their unique identity. At times, they can be overly dramatic and moody. Their core fear is being insignificant.
  • Type Five (The Investigator): Fives are independent, curious intellectuals who want to learn and understand. At times, they can be aloof or eccentric. Their core fear is being helpless.
  • Type Six (The Loyalist): Sixes are dependable, committed team players who champion and protect what matters most to them. At times, they can be overly anxious or reactive. Their core fear is being unsafe.  
  • Type Seven (The Enthusiast): Sevens are playful, joyful extroverts who seek new adventures. At times, they can be unreliable and shallow. Their core fear is being in pain.
  • Type Eight (The Challenger): Eights are assertive, powerful protectors who desire some sense of control. At times, they can be overly aggressive or domineering. Their core fear is being hurt. 
  • Type Nine (The Peacemaker): Nines are easygoing, peaceful diplomats who seek both internal and external harmony. At times, they can be disengaged and overly reserved. Their core fear is losing connection with others.

How the Enneagram Works

The Enneagram symbol plots the nine types on a circle, with Nine at the top and the rest of the numbers appearing clockwise in numerical order. Internal overlapping lines connect certain numbers based on their relationships with one another, as seen below.


In addition to identifying as one of the nine types, your expression of that type is influenced by a variety of factors, including:

  • Centers: The nine types are divided into three centers based on shared sources of motivation. Eights, Nines, and Ones rely on their gut (Instinctive Center), while Twos, Threes, and Fours rely on their heart (Feeling Center) and Fives, Sixes, and Sevens rely on their mind (Thinking Center).
  • Wings: Your wing is one of two neighboring types on the Enneagram whose motivations influence your own. For example, a Two with a One wing might strive to please others because they believe it’s the right thing to do, while a Two with a Three wing might try to please others as a way of gaining favor and recognition.
  • Direction of integration: When your personality type experiences growth and security, you may display the more positive aspects of another number on the Enneagram. For example, growing Ones take on the carefree nature of Sevens. A line on the Enneagram symbol connects Ones and Sevens to illustrate this movement.
  • Direction of disintegration: When your personality type experiences stress, you may display the more negative aspects of another number on the Enneagram. For example, stressed Ones take on the self-absorbed aspects of Fours. A line on the Enneagram connects Ones and Fours to illustrate this movement.

Like many other talent assessments , the Enneagram can be used to help employees discover their strengths and weaknesses and learn how to work more effectively with their coworkers.

Benefits of the Enneagram

When compared to other personality assessments, the Enneagram offers unique benefits, including:

  • Motivations and fears: Instead of measuring external attributes, the Enneagram looks internally to determine what fears or desires may be motivating those behaviors.
  • Stress and security: All workplaces experience times of growth as well as times of instability. The Enneagram takes into account how stress and security affect different personalities.
  • Strengths and weaknesses: Other personality assessments sometimes focus too much on people’s strengths. The Enneagram celebrates the strengths of each personality type without shying away from the realities of their weaknesses.

Enneagram vs. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)®

MBTI® previously dominated as the preferred personality assessment in companies across the nation. However, while MBTI® offers helpful categorizations of personalities based on behaviors, it fails to take into account a person’s motivations. This can lead to two very different people receiving the same results.

For example, let’s say a computer programmer and a copywriter at a company take the MBTI® test. They discover they are both INFJs: introverted, intuitive, sensitive people who rely on structure and organization to make judgments. 

However, the computer programmer is introverted because he relies on his intellect to protect himself (Type Five), while the copywriter is intuitive and quiet because she lives in her own individual, creative world (Type Four). They may share traits in common, but their motivations are different, requiring different approaches and strategies in the workplace.

Enneagram vs. DiSC®

The DiSC® assessment measures personality based on four factors: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. Like the Enneagram and its wings, DiSC® allows for combinations of different personality types (e.g., a person who is highly influential and steadfast may be an iS instead of just an i or an S alone). Additionally, DiSC® offers both natural and adapted results, similar to the Enneagram’s stress and security considerations.

DiSC® is a highly effective personality assessment in the workplace. It tends to measure personality traits as well as personal preferences. Although these are slightly different than motivations, they tend to overlap. Because it deals with four major types instead of nine, it may also be simpler to implement. 

However, the Enneagram offers a deeper understanding of what drives a person’s behaviors and preferences in the first place. The Enneagram may be used to add greater depth and understanding to DiSC®.

How to Use the Enneagram in the Workplace

Enneagram for business leaders.

Business owners, leaders, and executives can benefit from the Enneagram in a variety of ways, including:

  • Self-discovery: As a leader, self-awareness is the floor, not the ceiling. With the Enneagram, you can not only learn about your strengths and weaknesses, but also use that insight to make better business decisions .
  • Executive coaching: The Enneagram is a great foundational framework for executive coaching. With the help of an executive coach , business leaders can learn more about who they are and how they operate through the lens of the Enneagram.
  • Effective management: One of the benefits of the Enneagram is learning that not everyone sees the world as you do. As a leader, learning about your motivations can help you speak more effectively to the motivations of others, resulting in more effective team management.

Enneagram Team Building

Perhaps the most effective use of the Enneagram in the workplace is in the context of team building. With the Enneagram, your team can:

  • Discover their strengths: Depending on your industry and departmental role, some personality traits may be prized more than others. The Enneagram gives every person on your team, no matter their role, the opportunity to learn where their strengths lie and how they can grow and develop professionally .
  • Be honest about stress: Some jobs are more stressful than others. However, few workplaces have a culture that allows employees to be honest about stress and how it affects them. With the Enneagram, your team can start a conversation about stress and take steps to support one another and implement stress-conscious policies, such as flexible scheduling or more generous PTO .
  • Communicate more effectively: Learning coworkers’ Enneagram types can help your team communicate more effectively. Instead of assuming everyone sees the world as you do, you can tailor your message for different personalities.

Enneagram for Hiring

Like other personality assessments, the Enneagram can be used as a tool for hiring . With the Enneagram, you can:

  • Start a conversation: The Enneagram shouldn’t be used to box people into certain personality types or limit company roles to specific types. However, it can be used as a conversation starter with potential candidates. Let your candidates see their results before their interview so you can discuss what resonated, what surprised them, and what may have been off base.
  • Find the right fit: It can be difficult to find the right people for your company culture. If you know that a certain motivating factor is important for a role, such as a dedication to accuracy or customer service, then you can use the Enneagram to voice that desire and express any concerns you may have about a candidate’s results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can your enneagram change.

No. Your Enneagram type reflects your deepest desires and fears. These were often forged during childhood and are therefore unlikely to change. However, your expression of your Enneagram type may change based on stress, security, wings, and other levels of development.

It’s important to note that not all Enneagram assessments are created equally. Free Enneagram tests available online may offer inaccurate results. Mistyping is different from having your Enneagram change over time.

How Can I Pursue a Career Based on My Enneagram?

The Enneagram makes you aware of what drives you and what threatens you. This can make it easier for you to find a job that aligns with your desires and respects your limits. For example, a One would find it difficult to work for a company that doesn’t focus on quality control. However, they would flourish in an environment in which they can advocate for something they believe in.

Keep in mind that your Enneagram is not your destiny. All Enneagram types can and do work in a variety of industries and roles. 

Which Enneagram Is Best Suited for Leadership?

All Enneagram types have the capacity to lead. However, their leadership styles may differ, and their weaknesses may translate into potential pitfalls.

For example, an Eight will likely take to leadership with strength and enthusiasm. But they may struggle to learn the difference between leadership and control. On the other hand, a Nine may lead with more reservation, but their diplomatic strengths may make them more effective at resolving conflict and strengthening team cohesion. Both personality types can be great leaders, despite their different strengths and weaknesses.

enneagram at work presentation

4 Effective Enneagram Activities To Help Develop Your Team

Picture of Evan Doyle

The Enneagram can be highly beneficial in the workplace, helping you better serve your teammates, peers, and clients. The assessment gives insight into each person’s perspectives and motivations, aiding communication and cohesiveness.

There are four key areas of teamwork that the Enneagram can help propel your team toward better work: Understanding Your Teammates, Dealing With Conflict, Conducting Productive Meetings, and Empowering Others.

Starting conversations around these topics may seem challenging. Many people struggle to open up and be vulnerable in professional settings. However, the following activities can help facilitate productive discussions and strengthen your team.

While you can’t force anyone to participate, the long-term reward of a cohesive team far outweighs the short-term inconvenience of being vulnerable.

Below are four ways that you can use to implement the Enneagram and the insights that it offers into your work relationships and communications. 

4 Enneagram Team Building Activities That Actually Work

1. use a messaging channel to share what the team is learning.

Start a slack channel or other messaging thread for teammates to share and appreciate what they are learning about themself and others. Affirming and recognizing new insights is a powerful way to celebrate and reinforce a healthy team culture.

Find ways for your team to communicate how they are growing and what they value in one another. Using the Enneagram as a springboard is an easy way to begin nurturing this type of conversation.

2. Create A Type Map That Indicates Each Team Member's Number Within The Enneagram Symbol

Recognizing the makeup of your team can illuminate areas of strengths and weaknesses. Doing so will help you identify where other personality types may be able to contribute and provide additional insight or a fresh perspective.

This activity can also help you understand why you or a team member may react in certain ways. Having this information as a reference point will allow everyone to anticipate responses, support each other, and leverage strengths better.

enneagram activities

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3. Facilitate Small Group Discussions Using Questions That Highlight Strengths

Designate a meeting for team members to share what they are learning about themselves and each other using conversation starters. Below is a list to help get you started:

When you make decisions, describe how you incorporate your organization’s mission into your process.

Share specific examples of how you’ve noticed others infuse empathy into your team communications.

What is a positive example of how the Enneagram helped you collaborate with a teammate?

Describe what you believe helps you do your best work.

What are the unique contributions you notice others make to the team?

Think about what motivates you and share how that affects your work habits.

In what ways are you learning that self-awareness improves teamwork?


Inside this free guide, you’ll learn:

  • A breakdown of each Enneagram type and their work style
  • How to recognize the motivations of each type to mitigate conflict
  • Tips for using the Enneagram to improve communication among team members
  • Activities to help develop your team

Enneagram at Work Ebook on vector graphic

4. Start A Free Team Trial Using Cloverleaf!

Cloverleaf makes it easy for enterprise organizations to use their assessment insights to support collaboration, healthy dynamics, and effective conflict resolution.

enneagram activities for work

Together, your team will share a dashboard that reveals individual and collective insights to help your team thrive by understanding one another better.

Also, Cloverleaf integrates with the tools you love, like Google, Workplace, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. 

Plus, you’ll receive daily coaching tips about yourself and your teammates based on strengths and personality type to help ensure productive collaboration.

You don’t have to plan an activity like those described above. Sometimes just a short review of the Enneagram Types can help. Doing so can open up the possibility for your team’s compassion, empathy, and understanding toward each other.

After all, a team that works well together performs better and is more efficient in all tasks. To learn more about each type’s communication and work styles, check out the post: Understanding Each Enneagram Type At Work . Or, download the free Enneagram Guide To Healthy Teams In The Workplace .

When you’re assembling a team, it helps to know what motivates people and where they excel. Using the insights your team discovers from Enneagram team-building activities can improve your business’s performance and nurture a healthy company culture.

The Enneagram is a valuable system for understanding different personality types. When teams use it to foster healthy discussions and develop their team, it can help individuals understand how to work more effectively with one another. 

Did you know that Cloverleaf can help you use your Enneagram results to sharpen your professional development and work environment?

Click here to learn more about how Cloverleaf turns leading personality and strength-based assessments into actionable coaching inside your enterprise organization. 

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Productivity Advice, Based on Your Enneagram Personality Type

We all have different productivity hangups. Here’s how to start conquering yours…

enneagram at work presentation

As someone with significant personal goals and a track record of incompletion to match, the productivity advice I’ve consumed over the years melts together into a mess of contradictions in my mind:

Do it every day, without fail, but remember to embrace failure.

Do what you’re passionate about, but do what you’re good at.

Be strict with yourself about meeting deadlines, but get enough sleep.

The devil is in the details, but remember: perfect is the enemy of good.

I think most of us know that, deep down, our productivity issues stem from, well, our Issues: things that might be better addressed with a therapist than through a trendy life hack. We turn to quick fixes because we want the path to productivity to be easy and we need it to happen now, with deadlines looming and goals slipping through our fingertips.

The problem is, we read advice that may be geared towards someone with completely different hang-ups. Where one of us needs a motivational kick in the butt, the other desperately needs to be told to take something off their plate. Where you might need to be reminded to let go of perfection, I might need a better system of keeping track of details.

A few years ago, I found something that broke through all the noise, a tool that allowed me to confront my work in ways that were consistent, meaningful, and practical: The Enneagram.

The Enneagram is a personality typing system that offered me guiding principles for my growth, grounded in a new understanding of my strengths, patterns, and challenges. It led to practical changes in my routines and productivity strategies, but also changes in my career and the type of work I feel capable of taking on. As someone who used to swear that I “could not do work by myself,” freelance writing would have been a non-starter for my former self.

Where other productivity techniques and personality systems can linger on the surface or are confined to one corner of life, the Enneagram is holistic and deep. Best of all, working with the Enneagram is fun. Rather than just a quick run-down of your traits, it’s an exploration into human behavior and motivation – why you do the things you do – that’s inherently fascinating.

You might be dubious. There are, after all, two types of people in the world: people who love personality typing and people who can’t stand it. I have met many people who fall into the latter category who end up loving the Enneagram because it’s truly unique as a personality system.

Chelsea Forbrook , a certified Enneagram coach from Minneapolis, puts it like this:

“It doesn’t just put you in a box and leave you there. It shows you the box you’re already in so that you can get out of it. It introduces choice and freedom to let go of the things that are no longer serving us.”

When we see the behavior patterns we fall into, and understand the motivations and fears that lie beneath, we begin to have a choice in how we respond where we previously didn’t see one. It works in the short term and the long term, providing insight that can help you choose the tools to get work done now, but also opening a path of self-discovery that can lead you to a healthier relationship with work (and yourself) overall.

What is the Enneagram?

Though purported to have roots in several ancient traditions, from Kabala to Sufism to Christian Mystics, the Enneagram was modernized by Bolivian philosopher Oscar Ichazo in the 1960s and became popular in the U.S. pop psychology scene beginning in the 1970s. Its following has been growing ever since. The Enneagram is used by therapists and social workers to help people better understand themselves, as well as by organizations — whether profit-driven (Best Buy, Mitsubishi), or mission-driven (Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Catholic Worker Houses) — to maximize strengths, address weaknesses, and increase empathy and cooperation among people who approach work and life in different ways.

The 9 Enneagram types. Which one are you?

The Enneagram is based on the idea that there are nine types of people, each centered around a different core belief we have about what makes us a safe, worthwhile, and lovable person. This becomes our core identity, and a series of logical patterns of behavior arise around the need to uphold it. Each type has strengths and weaknesses built upon a worldview that fuels and inspires them but can limit them when it becomes too rigid. I’ll provide a brief summary of each type, its basic fears and desires, as well as its most common productivity challenges. I also delve into the productivity strategies and orientations towards work that each type should consider.

How do you know which type you are?

You may be tempted to take a quiz, and there are various versions online, some for free and some more reputable options that charge a fee. While quizzes can be a helpful jumping off point for figuring out your type, they aren’t always accurate. In fact, I almost always get answers that aren’t my actual type.

The best way to determine your type is to learn about the patterns of thought and action each type struggles with and to notice which ones give you a twinge of recognition. Be ready to be simultaneously flattered and offended. As Forbrook says of the Enneagram, “It shows us things that we previously had not seen about ourselves. It shows us our gifts and our beautiful essence and our virtues. But to get to those things we have to slog through the shadow. People wanting to get into the Enneagram have to be willing to get uncomfortable.”

Pro tip: If you read about a type and feel personally attacked, it’s probably yours. If you read one and think, “that’s obviously the worst type, I’m glad that’s not me,” it’s probably yours. Even if you start out thinking you’re one type and change your mind, no worries: the process of examining your motives and increasing awareness of your behavior is valuable in itself.

Type One : * The Perfectionist * The Reformer * The Idealist *

Ones see the world in terms of good and bad, and they want their behavior, the people, and the systems around them to be consistent with their moral values. They are inspiring people who work tirelessly to improve themselves and the world and are capable of making great sacrifices for a higher cause.

They also get frustrated when they or others don’t live up to their high standards: a harsh inner critic constantly points out the way they and others could do better. Forbrook, an Enneagram One who works in schools, explains it this way:

“Being an Enneagram One, I notice how continuously high my standards are and how frustrated I get, either with myself or with the system or with my coworkers, for not doing enough. The Enneagram helps me remember: ‘that’s just your inner critic, it’s not the truth.’”

Core belief: “I am good because I do things right.”

Strengths in work: Diligent, meticulous, honest, champions of their values.

Challenges at work: Black-and-white thinking that alienates them from people and potential compromises, overwork leading to burnout, procrastination due to the pressure of perfectionism.

Getting things done: Decide what needs to be done perfectly and what can be just “good enough” and act accordingly. Schedule relaxation. Ask for help.

Big picture question: Is this about what is really good for myself or others? Or is this about my own personal purity?

Type Two : * The Helper * The Giver * The Mentor *

Twos measure their worth in terms of the strength of their relationships. They strive constantly for connection and are great at creating it; they are empathetic, supportive, and caring. Twos are the co-workers who bring cookies for your birthday and remember that you’re a bigger fan of chocolate chunk cookies than chocolate chip.

It’s hard work to be so considerate, and all Twos want is to feel loved and appreciated in return. When they don’t feel valued for their efforts, it can call a Two’s self worth into question. If a connection is uncertain or threatened, they can be desperate to manufacture it, serving others in the hopes of getting care in return and overexerting themselves (and annoying others) in the process. Twos grow when they learn that asserting and/or serving their own needs doesn’t make them unworthy of love. On the contrary, it makes it easier for others to give them the love they desire.

Core belief: “I am good because I am needed.”

Strengths in work: Warm, perceiving the needs of others, creating a culture of caring and connection, attracting powerful supporters.

Challenges in work: Overcommitting to please others, not stating their own needs, resenting a lack of appreciation.

Getting things done: Twos can do more by doing less. Start saying “No,” or “Let me get back to you tomorrow” when you are asked to do a task for someone. Evaluate why you truly want to do a task: is it because you are expecting something in return? Can you ask for what you need instead?

Big picture question: What if I took my own needs as seriously as the needs of others?

Type Three : * The Achiever * The Performer * The Motivator *

Threes are productivity royalty: they get things done and make it look easy. They adapt intuitively to different environments, figuring out what the expectations are so that they can exceed them. They want to be useful and admirable, and they have the stamina, finesse, and work ethic to do it.

The downside: they can get so focused on performing success, however their community defines it, that they lose sight of what they really want themselves. Emotions, insecurities, or doubts can feel like an irritating drag on the Three’s success train, so they try to leave their feelings behind and are irritated when others don’t do the same. As the achievements stack up, so can exhaustion and alienation. Threes grow when they learn to appreciate the wisdom and value in feelings, their own and others’.

Core belief : I am good because I am successful.

Strengths in work : Hardworking, practical, cheers on and mentors others, charming.

Challenges : Burnout from overwork, impatient with the needs of others, putting image above reality.

Getting things done : Threes need to slow down and check in with what they want to do, rather than what others want them to do. A meditation or journaling practice can be a great way to do this.

Big picture question : What would I want to do if no one was going to find out about my accomplishments?

Type Four : * The Individualist * The Romantic * The Original *

Type Fours see their life as a work of art: it should be beautiful, original, and true. The truth Fours seek is not what’s on the surface but instead in the depths of the human experience. Fours are creative, artistic, and romantic. They don’t shy away from the darker or absurd parts of life, and their love of honesty makes them excellent friends for those seeking a co-conspirator and a non-judgemental audience.

Fours are constantly aware of the romantic, idealized version of their life that reality doesn’t live up to, which can result in depressive, self-loathing spirals where Fours retreat into fantasy and resentment; if they can’t be special, at least they have the intellect to notice how unspecial they are. Fours grow when they move toward action and give themselves permission to find brilliance in everyday acts of expression and care.

Core belief : I am good because I am unique.

Strengths in work : Visionary, unafraid of difficult topics, attentive to aesthetics and beauty, original.

Challenges : Feeling demeaned by ordinary (and often necessary) tasks that do not utilize their talents, envious of the success of others, delaying action by entering their internal world.

Getting things done : Create a beautiful workspace — light incense, use a nice pen, and play inspiring music, etc. Remember that any task can be dignified and beautiful when performed with your own original spin or with a larger cause in mind. Remind yourself that technical and practical work and knowledge are often the foundation of creative inspiration.

Big picture question : Does it have to be exceptional to be meaningful?

Type Five : * The Investigator * The Observer * The Thinker *

Fives are the most cerebral type of the enneagram. They want to know the truth, and the path to truth is through dispassionate, objective study. They are thoughtful, diligent, and often ridiculously good at trivia. Too much time with people can exhaust Fives, who feel most comfortable in the neat and solitary world of ideas and facts, uncluttered by messy emotions and urgent demands.

In an effort to remain objective, Fives can ignore their own feelings and look down on those of others, but in doing so they deny an essential truth of life: everyone has a perspective, and no one owns the truth. Fives grow when they stop feeling threatened by emotion and realize it’s easy for them to stay dispassionate when they stay out of the fray. They learn that a part of their comfort living in their heads comes from a fear of making mistakes or revealing incompetence. When they move out of research and into action they feel more connected and less alone.

Core belief : I am good because I know the truth.

Strengths in work : Excellent researchers, curious, eager to learn, excel at objective analysis.

Challenges : Over-researching when a decision needs to be made, appearing insensitive and aloof to the emotions of others, undervaluing the opinions of others (especially if they aren’t presented in a dispassionate way).

Getting things done : Make a list of what you need to know and why before jumping into research, take a walk or do something active to get in touch with your gut feelings, and offer to help others on your team to get out of your own head.

Big picture questions : “What if understanding people, their feelings, and relationships was just as important as understanding facts?”

Type Six : * The Loyalist * The Skeptic * The Trooper *

In a few, shining moments in their life, Sixes have felt safe and secure. When the illusion is shattered, Sixes spend their mental energy trying to earn back the safety they crave and to game out all of the disruptions that could take it away again. Safety presents itself as a combination of community, relationships, ideology, and the ability to predictably meet core needs. On the lookout for danger, Sixes are excellent at troubleshooting and addressing problems before they happen. Interested in building alliances and creating networks of support that can weather tough times, Sixes are loyal, supportive, and hardworking members of a team and ride-or-die friends (often with a witty and self-deprecating sense of humor).

When they let their anxiety and doubt control them, they can become defensive, pessimistic, and reactionary. They have fraught relationships with authority figures who they idealize as their protectors and guides, only to become highly critical and disillusioned when these figures are unable to live up to those high expectations. When they accept the fact that they cannot control everything and choose to trust in themselves, Sixes can grow as leaders and exemplify courage in the face of adversity.

Core belief : I am good because I am safe.

Strengths in work : Community-builder, excellent troubleshooter, synthesizes information, loyal to a team or cause through difficulty.

Challenges : Anxiety leads to procrastination, endless gathering of others’ opinions, researching to try to avoid mistakes, and outsourcing decision-making due to self-doubt.

Getting things done : Create comforting routines and boundaries around work (such as the Pomodoro method ), end each day with a list of what you did get done in addition to what you will do tomorrow, and quiet the mind with a body-focused meditation practice.

Big picture questions : What would I do if I trusted that things are not as fragile as I think they are?

Type Seven : * The Enthusiast * The Epicure * The Visionary *

A Seven builds their sense of self out of experiencing all of the joy and excitement that life has to offer. It’s always fun and exciting when a seven is around, and when things get boring they may suddenly have other plans. They want to focus on the positive and love to learn new things and meet new people. They have a boundless, generative energy and bring with them a feeling of abundance.

However, their endless activity and excess of plans can be a way to avoid the anxiety of what it would mean to slow down and confront the darker sides of life. They can miss out on experiences of depth by jumping to a new thing as soon as the going gets boring. Being truly present to the joy they create, instead of constantly thinking about the next great thing, will mean slowing down enough to confront the challenging and mundane aspects of life.

Core belief : I am good because I am joyful.

Strengths in work : Boundless positive energy, endless new ideas, motivating, excited to learn new things.

Challenges : Struggling to complete the many new things they start, overcommitting, dismissing negative emotions or realities (and the people who articulate them).

Getting things done : Before committing to a new project, make a pros and cons list, and write out how you will deal with the cons. Make a habit of promising less than you think you can deliver in the moment (no one will be upset if you over-deliver). Create systems that minimize exciting distractions while you work.

Big picture question : Which of life’s great experiences will I miss out on if I avoid all pain, boredom, and sadness?

Type Eight : * The Challenger * The Boss * The Protector *

Eights are fighters: they have seen (or experienced) the abuse of power and decided they would become strong enough to fight back. They see themselves as the protectors of themselves and their team. There is no time for platitudes, conflict avoidance, or coddling in the battlegrounds where Eights live: they are brutally honest, forceful, action-oriented, and can be downright disdainful of those who baulk at this ethos. Eights often feel they need to be in charge if the mission is to be completed without casualties: they are shouldering authority both to protect others and out of an inflated sense of their own infallibility. Eights challenge and inspire their teammates with their blunt feedback and lofty vision.

They can also be dominating, vengeful, and arrogant when they feel they have been betrayed by disloyalty or weakness. Eights grow when they learn to distinguish a threat to them and their team from a threat to their ego. Then they can start to truly use their heroic efforts in service of others, rather than in service of their own self-image.

Core belief : I am good because I am in control.

Strengths in work : Confident, persuasive, direct, highly productive.

Challenges : Domineering, impatient with perceived weakness, difficulty controlling anger.

Getting things done : Look for the strengths in others that you can build on by delegating responsibility and mentoring, recognize the power of being a good listener and build that skill, pick your battles by asking whether this could be solved diplomatically rather than forcefully.

Big picture question : Am I really acting out of confidence, or to mask an insecurity?

Type Nine : * The Peacemaker * The Harmonizer * The Mediator *

Nines feel safe when their actions, thoughts, and community are in harmony with each other. In a messy world full of opposing viewpoints, they feel the need to minimize their own needs and desires in order to create harmony, not just between themselves and others, but between everyone in their community as well. They are excellent at understanding the validity of multiple points of view and finding points of reconciliation between people and ideas.

The Nine’s desire to avoid conflict can cause them to compartmentalize and ignore or minimize conflict. They can sacrifice their own desires and needs in order to be agreeable, but deep down feel a growing resentment. When the Nine learns to uncover their own deeply held beliefs and take decisive action, they can be inspiring leaders who build consensus, appreciate input, and combine different strengths and methods in pursuit of a common goal.

Core belief : I am good because I am peaceful.

Strengths in work : Creates safe spaces for open dialogue, able to understand many viewpoints, excellent mediator, easygoing and relaxed demeanor.

Challenges : Procrastinates to avoid conflict, merges with others’ viewpoints to avoid disagreement, gets lost in big-picture thinking for small decisions.

Getting things done : Choose what to finish next, not what to do next, ask whether this is your issue to solve or someone else’s, don’t repress your anger; let it lead you to your true opinion/value and motivate you to action.

Big picture question : What could I contribute if I valued my own opinion as much as everyone else’s?

I bet at least one of those jumped out at you as illuminating, familiar, or downright rude. I hope it made you feel seen, not just as a “worker”, “content creator”, or “entrepreneur”, but as a person. That’s what I value the most about the Enneagram and its influence in my work: it wasn’t designed as a way to make productive cyborgs out of employees. It’s rooted in the quest to be true to yourself and to live a good life. Maybe it’s just the Six in me talking, but it’s a relief to have a source of wisdom about myself that I can really trust ––something that is about improving my life, not just a hack to squeeze one more task into the day. It’s that trust, and the awareness of how it fits into my larger life, that keeps me on course when I want to slip back into old habits.

Don’t take my word for it — start exploring! I recommend the following resources to delve further:

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

Beatrice Chestnut The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge

Helen Palmer The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Business and Intimate Relationships

David Daniels, M.D. The Enneagram, Relationships and Intimacy

The Enneagram Institute 

enneagram at work presentation

Bonnie Frieden

enneagram at work presentation

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How the Enneagram System Works

Introduction to the enneagram.

This explanation covers the basics that you will need to understand how the Enneagram works, and will be especially helpful for beginners. As you will see, only a few simple concepts are needed to begin your journey of self-discovery. The Enneagram, however, is ultimately subtle and complex, as you will appreciate the more you use it in your life. For additional guidelines, consult Personality Types ,  27-55, and for further clarifications Understanding the Enneagram , 11-30.

Index of Subjects

The Enneagram Structure Your Basic Personality Type The Centers The Wing The Levels of Development Directions of Integration (Growth) and Disintegration (Stress) The Three Instincts Typing Yourself and Others

The Enneagram Structure

The Enneagram’s structure may look complicated, although it is actually simple. It will help you understand the Enneagram if you sketch it yourself.

Draw a circle and mark nine equidistant points on its circumference. Designate each point by a number from one to nine, with nine at the top, for symmetry and by convention. Each point represents one of the nine basic personality types.

The nine points on the circumference are also connected with each other by the inner lines of the Enneagram. Note that points Three, Six, and Nine form an equilateral triangle. The remaining six points are connected in the following order: One connects with Four, Four with Two, Two with Eight, Eight with Five, Five with Seven, and Seven with One. These six points form an irregular hexagram. The meaning of these inner lines will be discussed shortly.

Your Basic Enneagram Personality Type

From one point of view, the Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type .

Everyone emerges from childhood with one  of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type. This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree— we are born with a dominant type . Subsequently, this inborn orientation largely determines the ways in which we learn to adapt to our early childhood environment. It also seems to lead to certain unconscious orientations toward our parental figures, but why this is so, we still do not know. In any case, by the time children are four or five years old, their consciousness has developed sufficiently to have a separate sense of self. Although their identity is still very fluid, at this age children begin to establish themselves and find ways of fitting into the world on their own.

Thus, the overall orientation of our personality reflects the totality of all childhood factors (including genetics) that influenced its development. (For more about the developmental patterns of each personality type, see the related section in the type descriptions in Personality Types  and in The Wisdom of the Enneagram . There is a discussion of the overall theory in Understanding The Enneagram ,  67-70).

Several more points can be made about the basic type itself.

  • People do not change from one basic personality type to another.
  • The descriptions of the personality types are universal and apply equally to males and females, since no type is inherently masculine or feminine.
  • Not everything in the description of your basic type will apply to you all the time because you fluctuate constantly among the healthy, average, and unhealthy traits that make up your personality type.
  • The Enneagram uses numbers to designate each of the types because numbers are value neutral— they imply the whole range of attitudes and behaviors of each type without specifying anything either positive or negative. Unlike the labels used in psychiatry, numbers provide an unbiased, shorthand way of indicating a lot about a person without being pejorative.
  • The numerical ranking of the types is not significant. A larger number is no better than a smaller number; it is not better to be a Nine than a Two because nine is a bigger number.
  • No type is inherently better or worse than any other. While all the personality types have unique assets and liabilities, some types may be considered to be more desirable than others in any given culture or group. Furthermore, for one reason or another, you may not be happy being a particular type. As you learn more about all the types, however, you will see that just as each has unique assets, each has unique liabilities. The ideal is to become your best self, not to imitate the assets of another type.

Identifying Your Basic Personality Type

If taken properly, our questionnaire, the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI ® version 2.5) , will identify your basic personality type for you. This short section is included so that we can have a basic understanding of the types in our discussion without having to go to the longer descriptions in the next section.

As you think about your personality, which of the following nine roles fits you best most of the time? Or, to put it differently, if you were to describe yourself in a few words, which of the following word clusters would come closest?

These one-word descriptors can be expanded into four-word sets of traits. Keep in mind that these are merely highlights and do not represent the full spectrum of each type.

Type One  is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

Type Two  is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.

Type Three  is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.

Type Four  is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

Type Five  is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

Type Six  is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

Type Seven  is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

Type Eight  is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

Type Nine  is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

The Centers

The Enneagram is a 3 x 3 arrangement of nine personality types in three Centers . There are three types in the Instinctive Center , three in the Feeling Center , and three in the Thinking Center , as shown below. Each Center consists of three personality types that have in common the assets and liabilities of that Center. For example, personality type Four has unique strengths and liabilities involving its feelings, which is why it is in the Feeling Center. Likewise, the Eight’s assets and liabilities involve its relationship to its instinctual drives, which is why it is in the Instinctive Center, and so forth for all nine personality types.

The inclusion of each type in its Center is not arbitrary. Each type results from a particular relationship with a cluster of issues that characterize that Center. Most simply, these issues revolve around a powerful, largely unconscious emotional response to the loss of contact with the core of the self. In the Instinctive Center, the emotion is Anger  or Rage . In the Feeling Center, the emotion is Shame , and in the Thinking Center, it is Fear . Of course, all nine types contain all three of these emotions, but in each Center, the personalities of the types are particularly affected by that Center’s emotional theme.

Thus, each type has a particular way of coping with the dominant emotion of its Center. We can briefly see what this means by examining each type, Center by Center. In the Instinctive Center,  Eights  act out their anger and instinctual energies. In other words, when Eights feel anger building in them, they immediately respond to it in some physical way, raising their voices, moving more forcefully. Others can clearly see that Eights are angry because they give themselves permission to express their anger physically.

Nines  deny their anger and instinctual energies as if to say, “What anger? I am not a person who gets angry.” Nines are the type most out of touch with their anger and instinctual energies, often feeling threatened by them. Of course, Nines get angry like everyone else, but try to stay out of their darker feelings by focusing on idealizations of their relationships and their world.

Ones  attempt to control or repress their anger and instinctual energy. They feel that they must stay in control of themselves, especially of their instinctual impulses and angry feelings at all times. They would like to direct these energies according to the dictates of their highly developed inner critic (superego), the source of their strictures on themselves and others.

In the Feeling Center,  Twos  attempt to control their shame by getting other people to like them and to think of them as good people. They also want to convince themselves that they are good, loving people by focusing on their positive feelings for others while repressing their negative feelings (such as anger and resentment at not being appreciated enough). As long as Twos can get positive emotional responses from others, they feel wanted and are able to control feelings of shame.

Threes  try to deny their shame, and are potentially the most out of touch with underlying feelings of inadequacy. Threes learn to cope with shame by trying to become what they believe a valuable, successful person is like. Thus, Threes learn to perform well, to be acceptable, even outstanding, and are often driven relentlessly in their pursuit of success as a way of staving off feelings of shame and fears of failure.

Fours  attempt to control their shame by focusing on how unique and special their particular talents, feelings, and personal characteristics are. Fours highlight their individuality and creativity as a way of dealing with their shameful feelings, although Fours are the type most likely to succumb to feelings of inadequacy. Fours also manage their shame by cultivating a rich, romantic fantasy life in which they do not have to deal with whatever in their life seems drab or uninteresting to them.

In the Thinking Center,  Fives  have fear about the outer world and about their capacity to cope with it. Thus, they cope with their fear by withdrawing from the world. Fives become secretive, isolated loners who use their minds to penetrate into the nature of the world. Fives hope that eventually, as they understand reality on their own terms, they will be able to rejoin the world and participate in it, but they never feel they know enough to participate with total confidence. Instead, they involve themselves with increasingly complex inner worlds.

Sixes  exhibit the most fear of all three types, largely experienced as anxiety, which causes them to be the most out of touch with their own sense of inner knowing and confidence. Unlike Fives, Sixes have trouble trusting their own minds, so they are constantly looking outside themselves for something to make them feel sure of themselves. They might turn to philosophies, beliefs, relationships, jobs, savings, authorities, or any combination of the above. But no matter how many security structures they create, Sixes still feel doubtful and anxious. They may even begin to doubt the very people and beliefs that they have turned to for reassurance. Sixes may also respond to their fear and anxiety by impulsively confronting it— defying their fear in the effort to be free of it.

Sevens  have fear about their inner world. There are feelings of pain, loss, deprivation, and general anxiety that Sevens would like to stay clear of as much as possible. To cope with these feelings, Sevens keep their minds occupied with exciting possibilities and options— as long as they have something stimulating to anticipate, Sevens feel that they can distract themselves from their fears. Sevens, in most cases, do not stop merely at thinking about these options, however. As much as possible they attempt to actually do as many of their options as they can. Thus, Sevens can be found staying on the go, pursuing one experience after another, and keeping themselves entertained and engaged with their many ideas and activities.

No one is a pure personality type: everyone is a unique mixture of his or her basic type and usually one  of the two types adjacent to it on the circumference of the Enneagram. One of the two types adjacent to your basic type is called your wing .

Your basic type dominates your overall personality, while the wing complements it and adds important, sometimes contradictory, elements to your total personality. Your wing is the “second side” of your personality, and it must be taken into consideration to better understand yourself or someone else. For example, if you are a personality type Nine, you will likely have either a One-wing or an Eight-wing, and your personality as a whole can best be understood by considering the traits of the Nine as they uniquely blend with the traits of either the One or the Eight. In our teaching experience over the years, we have also encountered some individuals who seem to have both wings, while others are strongly influenced by their basic type and show little of either wing.

There is disagreement among the various traditions of the Enneagram about whether individuals have one or two wings. Strictly speaking, everyone has two wings—in the restricted sense that both of the types adjacent to your basic type are operative in your personality since each person possesses the potentials of all nine types. However, this is not what is usually meant by “having two wings,” and proponents of the so-called two-wing theory believe that both wings operate more or less equally in everyone’s personality. (For example, they believe that a Nine would have roughly equal amounts of his or her Eight and One wings.)

Observation of people leads us to conclude that while the two-wing theory applies to some individuals, most people have a dominant wing. In the vast majority of people, while the so-called second wing always remains operative to some degree, the dominant wing is far more important. (For example, Twos with Three-wings are noticeably different from Twos with One-wings, and while Twos with Three-wings have a One-wing, it is not nearly as important as the Three-wing.) It is therefore clearer to refer simply to a type’s “wing” as opposed to its “dominant wing,” since the two terms represent the same concept.

One other observation about wings is worth mentioning. In the course of teaching the Enneagram in workshops and Trainings, many people in the latter half of their lives have reported the development of their so-called “second wing.” And in individuals who have been pursuing psychological and/or spiritual work, we have seen evidence that this is true. We do not know, however, whether these students were merely seeing all of the positive potentials of the nine types unfolding in them as they matured—their second wing being one of the other seven types—or whether this was a specific development of the second wing type. We will continue to investigate this idea in our work with our students and colleagues.

It is, of course, necessary to identify your basic type before you can assess which wing you have. Besides indicating your basic type, the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator  may also indicate your wing. Even so, the best way to understand the influence of your wing is to read the full descriptions of your type and its wings in Personality Types . You can also read the descriptions of the two types adjacent to your basic type and decide which best applies to you.

The Levels of Development

There is an internal structure within each personality type. That structure is the continuum of behaviors, attitudes, defenses, and motivations formed by the nine Levels of Development which make up the personality type itself. This discovery (and the working out of all the traits that comprise each type) was originally made by Don Riso in 1977, and was further developed by Don with Russ Hudson in the 1990s. They are the only Enneagram teachers to include this important factor in their treatment of the Enneagram. The Levels are an important contribution not only to the Enneagram but to ego psychology — and the personality types of the Enneagram cannot be adequately explained without them. The Levels account for differences between people of the same type as well as how people change both for better or worse. Thus, they can also help therapists and counselors pinpoint what is actually going on with clients and suggest solutions to the problems they are having.

The Levels of Development provide a framework for seeing how all of the different traits that comprise each type fit into a large whole; they are a way of conceptualizing the underlying “skeletal” structure of each type. Without the Levels, the types can seem to be an arbitrary collection of unrelated traits, with contradictory behaviors and attitudes often part of the picture. But by understanding the Levels for each type, one can see how all of the traits are interrelated—and how healthy traits can deteriorate into average traits and possibly into unhealthy ones. As pioneering consciousness philosopher Ken Wilber has noted, without the Levels, the Enneagram is reduced to a “horizontal” set of nine discrete categories. By including the Levels, however, a “vertical” dimension is added that not only reflects the complexity of human nature, but goes far in explaining many different, important elements within personality.

Further, with the Levels, a dynamic element is introduced that reflects the changing nature of the personality patterns themselves. You have probably noticed that people change constantly—sometimes they are clearer, more free, grounded, and emotionally available, while at other times they are more anxious, resistant, reactive, emotionally volatile and less free. Understanding the Levels makes it clear that when people change states within their personality, they are shifting within the spectrum of motivations, traits, and defenses that make up their personality type.

To understand an individual accurately, it is necessary to perceive where the person lies along the continuum of Levels of his or her type at a given time. In other words, one must assess whether a person is in their healthy, average, or unhealthy range of functioning. This is important because, for example, two people of the same personality type and wing will differ significantly if one is healthy and the other unhealthy. (In relationships and in the business world, understanding this distinction is crucial.)

The continuum is comprised of nine internal Levels of Development—briefly, there are three Levels in the healthy section, three Levels in the average section, and three Levels in the unhealthy section. It may help you to think of the continuum of Levels as a photographer’s gray scale which has gradations from pure white to pure black with many shades of gray in between. On the continuum, the healthiest traits appear first, at the top, so to speak. As we move down the continuum in a spiral pattern, we progressively pass through each Level of Development marking a distinct shift in the personality’s deterioration to the pure black of psychological breakdown at the bottom. The continuum for each of the personality types can be seen as follows.

 The Continuum of the Levels of Development

  • Level 1: The Level of Liberation
  • Level 2: The Level of Psychological Capacity
  • Level 3: The Level of Social Value
  • Level 4: The Level of Imbalance/ Social Role
  • Level 5: The Level of Interpersonal Control
  • Level 6: The Level of Overcompensation
  • Level 7: The Level of Violation
  • Level 8: The Level of Obsession and Compulsion
  • Level 9: The Level of Pathological Destructiveness

At each Level, significant psychological shifts occur as is indicated by the title we have given to it. For example, at Level 5, the Level of Interpersonal Control, the person is trying to manipulate himself and others to get his or her psychological needs met. This invariably creates interpersonal conflicts. By this Level, the person has also fully identified with the ego and does not see himself as anything more than that: the ego must therefore be increasingly defended and inflated for the person to feel safe and to keep their identity intact. If this activity does not satisfy the person, and anxiety increases, he or she may deteriorate to the next state, Level 6, the Level of Overcompensation, where their behavior will become more intrusive and aggressive as they continue to purse their ego-agenda. Anxiety is increasing, and the person is increasingly disruptive, and focused on getting his needs met, regardless of the impact on people around them.

One of the most profound ways of understanding the Levels is as a measure of our capacity to be present . The more we move down the Levels, the more identified we are with our ego and its increasingly negative and restrictive patterns. Our personality becomes more defensive, reactive, and automatic— and we consequently have less and less real freedom and less real consciousness. As we move down the Levels, we become caught in more compulsive, destructive actions which are ultimately self-defeating.

By contrast, the movement toward health,  up the Levels , is simultaneous with being more present and awake in our minds, hearts, and bodies. As we become more present, we become less fixated in the defensive structures of our personality and are more attuned and open to ourselves and our environment. We see our personality objectively in action rather than “falling asleep” to our automatic personality patterns. There is therefore the possibility of “not doing” our personality and of gaining some real distance from the negative consequences of getting caught in it.

As we become more present, we see our personality traits more objectively and the Levels become a continuous guide to self-observation, a map that we can use to chart where we are in our psycho-spiritual development at any given time. As we move “up” the Levels, we discover that we are freer and less driven by compulsive, unconscious drives and therefore able to act more effectively in all areas of our lives, including in our relationships. When we are less identified with our personality, we find that we respond as needed to whatever life presents, actualizing the positive potentials in all nine types, bringing real peace, creativity, strength, joy, compassion, and other positive qualities to whatever we are doing. (For more, see Personality Types , 45-51, 421-6; 465-93;  Understanding the Enneagram , 136-66, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram .)

Directions of Integration (Growth) and Disintegration (Stress)

As we have seen with the Levels of Development, the nine personality types of the Enneagram are not static categories: they reflect our change over time. Further, the sequence of the types and the arrangement of the inner lines of the symbol are not arbitrary. The inner lines of the Enneagram connect the types in a sequence that denotes what each type will do under different conditions. There are two lines connected to each type, and they connect with two other types. One line connects with a type that represents how a person of the first type behaves when they are moving toward health and growth. This is called the Direction of Integration or Growth. The other line goes to another type that represents how the person is likely to act out if they are under increased stress and pressure—when they feel they are not in control of the situation. This second line is called the Direction of Stress or Disintegration. In other words, different situations will evoke different kinds of responses from your personality. You will respond or adapt in different directions, as indicated by the lines of the Enneagram from your basic type . Again, we see the flexibility and dynamism of the Enneagram.

The Direction of Disintegration  or Stress  for each type is indicated by the sequence of numbers 1-4-2-8-5-7-1. This means that an average to unhealthy One under stress will eventually behave like an average to unhealthy Four; an average to unhealthy Four will act out their stress like an average to unhealthy Two; an average to unhealthy Two will act out under stress like an Eight, an Eight will act out under stress like a Five, a Five will act out like a Seven, and a Seven will act out like a One. (An easy way to remember the sequence is to realize that 1-4 or 14 doubles to 28, and that doubles to 57—or almost so. Thus, 1-4-2-8-5-7—and the sequence returns to 1 and begins again.) Likewise, on the equilateral triangle, the sequence is 9-6-3-9: a stressed out Nine will act out like a Six, a stressed out Six will act out like a Three, and a stressed out Three will act out like a Nine. (You can remember this sequence if you think of the numerical values diminishing as the types become more stressed and reactive. For a longer explanation and examples, see Personality Types , 47-52, 413-8.) You can see how this works by following the direction of the arrows on the following Enneagram.

The Direction of Integration  or Growth  is indicated for each type by the reverse of the sequences for disintegration. Each type moves toward integration in a direction that is the opposite of its unhealthy direction. Thus, the sequence for the Direction of Integration is 1-7-5-8-2-4-1: an integrating One goes to Seven, an integrating Seven goes to Five, an integrating Five goes to Eight, an integrating Eight goes to Two, an integrating Two goes to Four, and an integrating Four goes to One. On the equilateral triangle, the sequence is 9-3-6-9: an integrating Nine will go to Three, an integrating Three will go to Six, and an integrating Six will go to Nine. You can see how this works by following the direction of the arrows on the following Enneagram.

It is not necessary to have separate Enneagrams for the Direction of Integration and the Direction of Disintegration. Both directions can be shown on one Enneagram by eliminating the arrows and connecting the proper points with plain lines.

The Direction of Integration (Growth) 1-7-5-8-2-4-1 9-3-6-9

The Direction of Disintegration (Stress) 1-4-2-8-5-7-1 9-6-3-9

No matter which personality type you are, the types in both  your Direction of Integration or Growth and your Direction of Disintegration or Stress are important influences. To obtain a complete picture of yourself (or of someone else), you must take into consideration the basic type and wing as well as the two types in the Directions of Integration and Disintegration. The factors represented by those four  types blend into your total personality and provide the framework for understanding the influences operating in you. For example, no one is simply a personality type Two. A Two has either a One-wing or a Three-wing, and the Two’s Direction of Disintegration (Eight) and its Direction of Integration (Four) also play important parts in his or her overall personality.

Ultimately, the goal is for each of us to “move around” the Enneagram, integrating what each type symbolizes and acquiring the healthy potentials of all the types . The ideal is to become a balanced, fully functioning person who can draw on the power (or from the Latin, “virtue”) of each as needed. Each of the types of the Enneagram symbolizes different important aspects of what we need to achieve this end. The personality type we begin life with is therefore less important ultimately than how well (or badly) we use our type as the beginning point for our self-development and self-realization.

The Three Instincts

The three Instincts (often erroneously called “the subtypes”) are a third set of distinctions that are extremely important for understanding personality. A major aspect of human nature lies in our instinctual “hard wiring” as biological beings. We each are endowed with specific instinctual intelligences that are necessary for our survival as individuals and as a species. We each have a self-preservation  instinct (for preserving the body and its life and functioning), a sexual instinct  (for extending ourselves in the environment and through the generations), and a social instinct  (for getting along with others and forming secure social bonds).

While we have all three Instincts in us, one of them is the dominant focus of our attention and behavior—the set of attitudes and values that we are most attracted to and comfortable with. We each also have a second Instinct that is used to support the dominant Instinct, as well as a third Instinct that is the least developed—a real blind spot in our personality and our values. Which Instinct is in each of these three places—most, middle, and least developed—produces what we call our “Instinctual Stack” (like a three-layer cake) with your dominant Instinct on top, the next most developed Instinct in the middle, and the least developed on the bottom).

These instinctual drives profoundly influence our personalities, and at the same time, our personalities largely determine how each person prioritizes  these instinctual needs. Thus, while every human being has all three of these instincts operating in him or her, our personality causes us to be more concerned with one of these instincts than the other two. We call this instinct our dominant  instinct. This tends to be our first priority—the area of life we attend to first. But when we are more caught up in the defenses of our personality—further down the Levels of Development— our personality most interferes  with our dominant instinct.

Further, our Enneagram type flavors the way in which we approach our dominant instinctual need. Combining our Enneagram type with our dominant instinct yields a much more specific portrait of the workings of our personality. When we apply the distinctions of these three instincts to the nine Enneagram types they create 27 unique combinations of type and dominant instinct that account for differences and variability within the types. We call these combinations the Instinctual Variants.

The Enneagram Institute® offers an online test, the Instinctual Variants Questionnaire (IVQ) , for helping people determine not only their dominant instinct, but also their Instinctual Stack. The IVQ also provides a detailed personality profile derived from the combination of the test taker’s Enneagram type, wing, and Instinctual Stack.

The following are brief descriptions of the three instincts:

Self Preservation Instinct

People who have this as their dominant instinct are preoccupied with the safety, comfort, health, energy, and well-being of the physical body. In a word, they are concerned with having enough resources  to meet life’s demands. Identification with the body is a fundamental focus for all humans, and we need our body to function well in order to be alive and active in the world. Most people in contemporary cultures have not faced life or death “survival” in the strictest sense; thus, Self-Preservation types tend to be concerned with food, money, housing, medical matters, and physical comfort. Moreover, those primarily focused on self-preservation, by extension, are usually interested in maintaining these resources for others as well. Their focus of attention naturally goes towards things related to these areas such as clothes, temperature, shopping, decorating, and the like, particularly if they are not satisfied in these areas or have a feeling of deficiency due to their childhoods. Self-Pres types tend to be more grounded, practical, serious, and introverted than the other two instinctual types. They might have active social lives and a satisfying intimate relationship, but if they feel that their self-preservation needs are not being met, still tend not to be happy or at ease. In their primary relationships, these people are “nesters”—they seek domestic tranquility and security with a stable, reliable partner.

Sexual (aka “Attraction”) Instinct

Many people originally identify themselves as this type because they have learned that the Sexual types are interested in “one-on-one relationships.” But all three instinctual types are interested in one-on-one relationships for different reasons, so this does not distinguish them. The key element in Sexual types is an intense drive for stimulation and a constant awareness of the “chemistry” between themselves and others. Sexual types are immediately aware of the attraction, or lack thereof, between themselves and other people. Further, while the basis of this instinct is related to sexuality, it is not necessarily about people engaging in the sexual act. There are many people that we are excited to be around for reasons of personal chemistry that we have no intention of “getting involved with.” Nonetheless, we might be aware that we feel stimulated in certain people’s company and less so in others. The sexual type is constantly moving toward that sense of intense stimulation and juicy energy in their relationships and in their activities. They are the most “energized” of the three instinctual types, and tend to be more aggressive, competitive, charged, and emotionally intense than the Self-Pres or Social types. Sexual types need to have intense energetic charge in their primary relationships or else they remain unsatisfied. They enjoy being intensely involved—even merged—with others, and can become disenchanted with partners who are unable to meet their need for intense energetic union. Losing yourself in a “fusion” of being is the ideal here, and Sexual types are always looking for this state with others and with stimulating objects in their world.

Social (aka “Adaptive”) Instinct

Just as many people tend to misidentify themselves as Sexual types because they want one-on-one relationships, many people fail to recognize themselves as Social types because they get the (false) idea that this means always being involved in groups, meetings, and parties. If Self-Preservation types are interested in adjusting the environment to make themselves more secure and comfortable, Social types adapt themselves to serve the needs of the social situation  they find themselves in. Thus, Social types are highly aware of other people, whether they are in intimate situations or in groups. They are also aware of how their actions and attitudes are affecting those around them. Moreover, Sexual types seek intimacy, Social types seek personal connection : they want to stay in long-term contact with people and to be involved in their world. Social types are the most concerned with doing things that will have some impact on their community, or even broader domains. They tend to be warmer, more open, engaging, and socially responsible than the other two types. In their primary relationships, they seek partners with whom they can share social activities, wanting their intimates to get involved in projects and events with them. Paradoxically, they actually tend to avoid long periods of exclusive intimacy and quiet solitude, seeing both as potentially limiting. Social types lose their sense of identity and meaning when they are not involved with others in activities that transcend their individual interests.

Typing Yourself and Others

Once you have taken the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI® version 2.5)  to discover your dominant type, and perhaps also the I nstinctual Variants Questionnaire to further refine your understanding of the Enneagram types, you may be curious about the personality types of others. Since you will usually not be able to administer the RHETI® or IVQ to business associates or to strangers, you might wonder how you can become more skilled at discovering which type someone else is. By studying the descriptions in Personality Types ,  Understanding the Enneagram , and The Wisdom of the Enneagram , you will, in time, become more adept at typing people. As you do so, however, you might keep several points in mind.

You may be able to figure out the types of a few close friends rather quickly, or you may find it difficult to categorize people and not know where to begin. Either state is normal. It is not always apparent which type someone is, and it takes time and study to sharpen your skills. Remember that you are like a beginning medical student who is learning to diagnose a wide variety of conditions, some healthy and some unhealthy. It takes practice to learn to identify the various “symptoms” of each type and to see larger “syndromes.”

Despite the subtleties and complexities involved, there is really no secret about typing people. You must learn which traits go with each type and observe how people manifest those traits. This is a subtle undertaking because there are many subtypes and quirks to each personality type. Different types can sometimes seem similar, particularly if their motivations are not taken into account. This is why it is not sufficient to focus on a single trait in isolation and make a diagnosis based on it alone. It is necessary to see each type as a whole— its overall style, approach to life, and especially its underlying motivations—before you can determine someone’s type reliably. Many elements must come together before you can be sure that you have typed someone accurately.

Moreover, when we diagnose others, we are always on thinner ice than when we use the Enneagram to deepen our own self-knowledge. It is, of course, more appropriate to apply this material to ourselves than to type others while we avoid looking at our own lives. Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to think that anything as interesting (or as insightful) as the Enneagram will not be used for better understanding others. In fact, we categorize people all the time. No one approaches others without some sort of mental categories. We automatically perceive people either as male or female, black or white, attractive or unattractive, good or bad, friend or enemy, and so forth. It is not only honest to be aware of this, it is useful to have more accurate and appropriate categories for everyone, including ourselves.

Although the Enneagram is probably the most open-ended and dynamic of typologies, this does not imply that the Enneagram can say all there is to say about human beings. Individuals are understandable only up to a certain point beyond which they remain mysterious and unpredictable. Thus, while there can be no simple explanations for persons, it is still possible to say something true about them. In the last analysis, the Enneagram helps us to do that—and only that. The Enneagram is useful because it indicates with startling clarity certain constellations of meaning about something that is essentially beyond definition: the mystery that we are.

Introduction to the Enneagram (Slides)

Enneagram with numbers

This set of slides gives a very brief introduction to the Enneagram of Personality. It should be treated as an introduction to be supplemented with further resources .

Also see: The Enneagram as the Path to Your True Self

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Home Blog Presentation Ideas 9 Presentation Styles of the Enneagram Model

9 Presentation Styles of the Enneagram Model

Enneagram Diagram of Personalities

Enneagram is a model of the human psyche. It is used for explaining what is considered as the nine interconnected personality types. This model is widely used to study dominant behavior traits to better understand the abilities and weaknesses of an individual; in order to make the most out of one’s gifts and understanding the challenges that one’s personality might pose for him/her.

What is The Enneagram Model?

The idea behind the Enneagram Model is that we all have nine personality types within us. Among these nine personalities, one is the most dominant. The Enneagram can be used to understand the behavior of an individual. Understanding your behavior using the Enneagram Model can help unlock your gifts and make sure that you’re able to fine-tune yourself when dealing with others by better understanding what works best for you. Similarly, you can better understand your weaknesses and the challenges that hold you back because of your dominant personality traits.

Nine Personality Types of the Enneagram Model & how they Affect Presentation Style

Let’s take a look at the nine personality traits of the Enneagram Model in detail, with particular reference to how each personality can make use of their skills for a killer presentation.

1. The Reformer

The Reformer is an idealist, seeking perfection with a conscientious and principled personality. The Reformer tends to be concerned about perfection, trusting others very little, as they might not be able to meet his/her high standards.

enneagram at work presentation

Reformers can tend to take a lot of burden on themselves in the pursuit of getting things done “right”. This might lead to trust and ego related issues, and the burden to do too much might negatively affect the Reformer. For example, workaholics who try to get things done on their own are always at a risk of getting burned out and might even become agitated because of their lack of trust and inability to delegate tasks to others. This can be overcome by mentoring others and developing a pattern of trust over some time to encourage delegation of tasks.

Presentation Style: Reformers can be great presenters due to their attention to detail and need for perfection. However, they should not shy away from seeking help and corroborating facts and figures. The Reformer can run the risk of ignoring valuable advice due to a lack of trust in the ability of others. Being more open to seeking help can make Reformers better presenters.

2. The Helper

The Helper is a caring personality type. The Helper is generous, with a love for being with other people and catering for their needs. However, the Helper suffers from behavior that requires constant approval from others.

enneagram at work presentation

The need to be seen as “helpful” can be the undoing of Helpers. Furthermore, the Helper can often avoid taking a firm stand out of the fear of offending others. Therefore, it is necessary for the Helper to overcome his/her people-pleasing tendency and opt for prioritizing their focus more equitably. This is because the Helper runs the risk of becoming bitter in the long run, as people might take advantage of his/her generosity.

Presentation Style: As a presenter, the Helper’s biggest asset is his/her warm-heartedness and generosity. Even if the slides presented by the Helper aren’t all that visually appealing, the real strength for the Helper is the ability to win hearts and minds by reaching the audience at a very personal level. However, the Helper should not be afraid of criticism or tough questions asked from the audience during a Q&A session, since the need for approval can be the Helper’s weakness.

>> Recommended read:  Which presentation style suits according to the Myers-Briggs test?

3. Achiever

The Achiever personality type is driven by success and the need to achieve targets. Achievers are image-conscious and like to achieve the goals they set for themselves without compromise.

enneagram at work presentation

Achievers tend to have high standards and are good at acquiring targets. This also means that Achievers can overvalue the opinion of others in order to maintain their image. Furthermore, one of the temptations of the achiever is “deceit”. This might mean that they may compromise on morals to achieve set goals.

Presentation Style: Achievers are goal-oriented and charismatic, which can help them win over the audience with their charm. However, in order to achieve an end, the Achiever might intend to deceive his/her audience to achieve desired results. This can also be the downfall of the achiever, as deceiving people with misleading information can quickly backfire. This is because it is now easier for people to verify facts using information technology-driven platforms and the Internet. The Achiever should not get carried away with trying to reach a target at all costs, since this might lead to irreparable damage to his/her reputation. Instead, the Achiever can focus on their charm, charisma and hard work to present their side of the argument to win over an audience.

4. Individualist

Individualists are unique, temperamental and creative. While they strive for uniqueness, they can feel isolated with the same sense of being too different from others.

enneagram at work presentation

This can result in mood swings and depression. Individualists are emotional and feel things at a deeper level than others. They can find strength in their uniqueness and creativity.

Presentation Style: What works best for Individualists is to be themselves. Their uniqueness can be a breath of fresh air for the audience. Their creativity and distinctive thought process can help them grab the attention of their audience. Individualists should, however, try to keep in mind the type of audience they are addressing and not make their presentations too complicated. This is because what others find fascinating might be too mundane for the Individualist. This might lead to a presentation that is too complicated for the audience.

5. The Investigator

The Investigator prefers time alone and takes pleasure in digging deep into concepts.

enneagram at work presentation

The investigator has a keen sense of observation. Investigators are not tempted by social status and the way they are perceived by others. They are more concerned about dissecting information and acquiring knowledge.

Presentation Style: The investigator can be good at presenting facts, however, that can appear dull and boring if not presented in a manner that can keep the audience engaged. Investigators are also private types, and socializing can be draining for them. This might result in weak presentation skills or problems with public speaking. Investigators can overcome this dilemma by seeking help from others who are more expressive and creative at presenting information in an attention-grabbing manner.

6. Loyalist

Loyalists are loyal friends but have a strong sense of perceiving threats and danger.

enneagram at work presentation

Their need for watching out for threats and danger can often result in skepticism. This means that Loyalists can doubt most things and they can tend to be a little too careful.

Presentation Style: Loyalists can let their keen sense of skepticism creep into presentations. While this might not always be a bad thing, many a time the audience would like some sort of conclusion or strong opinion based on facts. The biggest threat for a Loyalist as a presenter and in general is to not let paranoia get the best of him/her and keep a window open for positivity. Loyalists can also use their keen sense of threat perception for something like a SWOT analysis where such skills can be particularly useful.

7. The Enthusiast

Enthusiasts are the fun-loving types who like to engage in things that are enjoyable and adventurous.

enneagram at work presentation

They are less stressed than other personality types. Enthusiasts are restless, require constant stimulation and can lose focus of the task at hand because of something which might seem more attractive than the current project they are working on.

Presentation Style: Enthusiasts can make use of their fun-loving personality to be likeable and keep the audience engaged with their positivity and stimulating presentation style. However, it can be hard for Enthusiasts to keep focus and complete their assignments on time, which might mean they may end up with a half-cooked presentation due to a lack of attention to detail. Enthusiasts should try to minimize distractions and can even try productivity methods like Pomodoro to improve concentration when working on their presentations.

8. The Challenger

The Challenger has a strong need for control and can be quite confrontational.

enneagram at work presentation

The Challenger is the Alpha male type, looking to dominate every situation. This can result in needless confrontations and challenges for the Challenger. People who might not like the controlling nature of Challengers might even take offense because of their attitude.

Presentation Style:

A dominant presenter can be perceived positively by an audience, resulting in a successful presentation by the Challenger. However, the need for control can result in a needless confrontation with audience members who may be critical of the Challenger. It is therefore necessary for this personality type to remain calm in the wake of criticism and be more humble when addressing and interacting with the audience. Challengers can also present in groups with a more calm personality type so that certain questions and parts of the presentation can be handled by someone with a less confrontational personality.

9. The Peacemaker

Finally, the Peacemaker. The Peacemakers are the compliant types who hate confrontations.

enneagram at work presentation

They prefer peace and harmony over ego and confrontation. This also means that they can be a bit too agreeable and can be made to admit a mistake they didn’t make.

Presentation Style: A Peacemaker will try to connect with the audience and find the means to seek their agreement. This can be an approach that may act like a two-edged sword. At one end it might help a Peacemaker win over an audience, whereas it can also result in bullying by people in the audience. A Peacemaker runs the risk of losing sight of their goal in the hope of agreeing with others. This is why a Peacemaker might team up with another personality type to make up for this deficiency as a presenter, such as a Challenger or Investigator.

Final Words

The Enneagram Model can serve as a valuable insight into our best and worst personality traits, temptations and gaps which can be filled by seeking help from others or working on behavior change. Whether you’re a presenter, someone looking to move up the organizational hierarchy by striving for better performance or someone seeking work-life balance; you can study your personality in light of the Enneagram Model to do all that and more!

enneagram at work presentation

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Enneagram Model, Personalities, Personality Test, Personality Types Filed under Presentation Ideas

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The Big Five Personality Traits Model explains this relationship in detail by dividing personality traits in dimensions. In this article, we review five key dimensions of people’s personalities.

Which Presentation Style Suits You According to the Myers Briggs Test?

Filed under Presentation Ideas • January 31st, 2019

Which Presentation Style Suits You According to the Myers Briggs Test?

You might have heard of the Myers Briggs Test. There are numerous websites offering personality tests which place people in one of 16 personality archetypes described by Myers Briggs Type Indicator. This is based upon a system developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers; the latter being the daughter of Katharine Cook. What […]

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enneagram at work presentation


  1. 9 Presentation Styles of the Enneagram Model

    enneagram at work presentation

  2. Enneagram Personality System PowerPoint Diagram

    enneagram at work presentation


    enneagram at work presentation

  4. The Enneagram At Work

    enneagram at work presentation

  5. Enneagram at Work Bundle Enneagram Types at Work Guide

    enneagram at work presentation

  6. A Brief Overview of The Enneagram

    enneagram at work presentation


  1. How to pronounce enneagram

  2. Enneagram in Relationship: Type 5 (The Investigator)

  3. Enneagram Type 4 Panel

  4. Is the Enneagram Personality Test right for your business?

  5. The Enneagram and Spiritual Practices

  6. Introducing the Enneagram


  1. PDF Enneagram @ Work Slides

    What is the Enneagram? "Ennea" = nine. "Gram" = something written or drawn. Nine personality types. Has ancient roots. Mid 20th century psychologists began develop it for practical use. "The Enneagram doesn't put you in a box, you are already in a box but just it. The Enneagram helps you understand. out of it.".

  2. The Enneagram At Work: How To Identify & Support All 9 Types

    Communication Style. Brief, professional, objective, and reserved. Fives rely on research, insight, and knowledge before communicating and, therefore, may need time to share the next steps or ideas. This type appreciates the patience and willingness to listen to new perspectives while conversing.

  3. Utilizing the Enneagram in Workplace Situations: A Guide for Managers

    Enneagram at Work 101. The E nneagram is a personality assessment designed to help people better understand themselves and others. There are 9 personality styles that your employees may fall into, each with their own values, motivations, communication preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. For each of the 9 personality styles, there are two ...

  4. The Enneagram At Work

    Thankfully, using the enneagram at work can help co-workers all understand and support each other better. Between your personality and the personalities of all of your co-workers, there is a lot going on and a lot of potential for trouble spots. Whether you are the boss or an employee, the enneagram is a wonderful tool to help you understand ...

  5. Enneagram at Work: How to Maximize Your Career Potential

    Enneagram Type 6 at Work—The Careful Trouble-Shotter. Enneagram 6 at work is the most loyal, conscious, and diligent worker any employer can wish for. Security-oriented and highly aware of every possible risk related to their field of work, they are unmatched in planning, strategizing, and anticipating possible problems.

  6. In the Workplace

    Improve Relationships at Work. The Enneagram describes nine ways of seeing the world that are very different from one another, each with unique strengths, blind spots and communication styles. Learning to recognize these different points of view enables us to better understand the motivations, needs and concerns of ourselves, our coworkers and ...

  7. How Can I Use My Enneagram to Be Effective at Work? Part 1

    Make use of your strengths by: "Reading the room" and understanding what will work for the audience you are catering to; doing so will leave a good impression. Using hard work and determination to keep projects moving forward. Using your leadership skills, enthusiasm, and passion to motivate and inspire others.

  8. PDF Enneagram 101

    THE ENNEAGRAM is a system of nine personality types that combines traditional wisdom and modern psychology into a powerful tool for understanding ourselves and the people in our lives. The Enneagram describes the strengths and potentials of each personality type as well as its problems. All personality types are equal, and the highs and lows of ...

  9. Enneagram at Work: What's Your Management Style?

    The caring, interpersonal type: demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive. Helpers are givers, not takers. At work, this Enneagram type often ascribes to a servant style of leadership. As people pleasers, managers who are Helper types might lack the tough love necessary for certain employees to succeed.

  10. Enneagram Types At Work: Guide To Healthy Teams In The Workplace

    *Grab your free copy of The Enneagram Guide To Healthy Team In The Workplace: this free guide, you'll lea...

  11. Using the Enneagram in the Workplace

    The Enneagram is a method of psychological typing based on nine interconnected personality types. In contrast with other popular personality assessments, the Enneagram focuses on motivations instead of behaviors. This allows for people with similar external traits to receive different results based on their internal motivations.

  12. 4 Enneagram Team Building Activities That Actually Work

    There are four key areas of teamwork that the Enneagram can help propel your team toward better work: Understanding Your Teammates, Dealing With Conflict, Conducting Productive Meetings, and Empowering Others. Starting conversations around these topics may seem challenging. Many people struggle to open up and be vulnerable in professional settings.

  13. The Enneagram and Work: Productivity Advice for Each ...

    The Enneagram is a personality typing system that offered me guiding principles for my growth, grounded in a new understanding of my strengths, patterns, and challenges. It led to practical changes in my routines and productivity strategies, but also changes in my career and the type of work I feel capable of taking on.

  14. Introduction to the Enneagram

    Apr 8, 2009 • Download as PPT, PDF •. 17 likes • 22,642 views. Linda Ferguson. An entertaining overview of the Enneagram and its 9 core types.

  15. How to Communicate Authentically with your Staff, by Enneagram ...

    When communicating with an Enneagram Two, be informal and personal. Talk about how you are feeling, what's going on for you, and ask them to do the same. Aim to be positive and upbeat, while also being sincere. Make sure you provide them with specific positive feedback about their work and contributions.

  16. Enneagram Team Training and Workshops

    A Starting Point Presentation 2 Hour. Virtual or Onsite Presentation Focus: Introducing the Enneagram and how to use it in the workplace. Includes: assessments, Enneagram at Work overview, guided discussion, team mapping, "Ways to Work with Me" homework, and personalized resource page Investment: starting at $3,495

  17. How The Enneagram System Works

    It will help you understand the Enneagram if you sketch it yourself. Draw a circle and mark nine equidistant points on its circumference. Designate each point by a number from one to nine, with nine at the top, for symmetry and by convention. Each point represents one of the nine basic personality types.

  18. Introduction to the Enneagram (Slides)

    Home » Introduction to the Enneagram (Slides) This set of slides gives a very brief introduction to the Enneagram of Personality. It should be treated as an introduction to be supplemented with further resources. Also see: The Enneagram as the Path to Your True Self. This set of slides gives a very brief introduction to the Enneagram of ...

  19. 9 Presentation Styles of the Enneagram Model

    Nine Personality Types of the Enneagram Model & how they Affect Presentation Style. Let's take a look at the nine personality traits of the Enneagram Model in detail, with particular reference to how each personality can make use of their skills for a killer presentation. 1. The Reformer. The Reformer is an idealist, seeking perfection with a ...

  20. PDF What is the Enneagram?

    What is the Enneagram? How the Enneagram helps people develop in the workplace ... ver view of the Nine Types O Core motivation, strengths and challenges Applying the Enneagram to work ommunication & Stress C On Teams Team Insights. Objectives Increase your awareness of your type's pattern in action ... The full slide presentation is only ...

  21. A Professionally Designed Enneagram Presentation Suite

    Comprehensive 103-slide presentation. Professionally designed. Topics Include: Enneagram Structure, Paths, Wings, Levels of Alignment, Triads, Core Motivations for every Type. PLUS: Communication Styles, Conflict Activators, and Strategies for Getting Along with Each Type. Lifetime access to Keynote, PowerPoint, and PDF versions.